With all the writing I’ve been doing of last–believe it or not, about three thousand words yesterday–I haven’t had a chance to talk about something I’ve started playing with. But if you have Goggle Earth on your computer–which is something that comes with Maps and requires a newer computer–then you’re in for a treat. Because now, you can feel like you’re flying over cities, hills, and plains.
I discovered this one day while fooling around with images, and I saw one of the icons in the lower right that, when I hovered over it, said “Tilt the View.” Being curious I clicked it and saw that, yes, the view did tilt, making the scene look as if I were approaching the area from the air. I figured I’d return things to the “flat” view and clicked it again . . . and everything flattened out more. Whereas the first view made it look as if I was pretty much overhead, this new view shows me everything as if I were sitting several hundred feet in the air and seeing everything all the way to the fuzzy horizon.
You know where I started going with this, don’t you?
When I started putting together Emma’s and Kerry’s Scavenger Flight, I started looking at the sights as they may see them. Now, this kind of viewing isn’t perfect: the computer is trying to render a stereo-graphic image of a satellite picture, and sometimes the scenes look as if they came right out of The Lawnmower Man. Other times it looks pretty great, and there are some images that are pretty damn spot on. But if you’re a writers, and you want to get an idea of what a particular area of the world looks like, and you want to see the area in a way that you can reimage your own way on the printed page, then this is a fun tool to use.
For example, this is what I see when I’m over Cape Ann looking west:
Even if there were buildings there, most of what you’d see are trees. We’re directly over Selena’s Meadow here, and you would see the Areodrome, the west wall, Sunset Tower, maybe a few other things, but that would be here. That brown section of trees in the middle of the picture? That’s where Emma and Kerry had to hide out during the Day of the Dead, and where Annie asked Kerry to be her Dark Witch. Now you know.
Thirty clicks to the east you find the Danvers Apartments, site of the original insane asylum:
And way off to the west and southwest, the Connecticut capitol building in Hartford.
You can actually hold down the left mouse button and move the image around a little, but if you hold down the shift and the left mouse button, you and start tilting and rotating the scene to get the best view. Doing that helps you get things to look as you would like them to look.
South of Hartford we have the Port of New Haven, which Team Myfanwy had to visit–
And then, finally, their trip into Queens.
On their way out of New York they’d head east again, down Long Island, and all the way to Montauk Point and the lighthouse:
Now, that radar dish on the left of the above image: that’s Camp Hero, a holdover from Cold War better known as the Montauk Air Force Station. At one time there was a hidden coastal battery here that was kept ready in case the Russians decided to invade New York City, and once they came this way their ships would get blasted. Or if there were aircraft, that radar would discover them and rat their commie asses out. The radar is the only one of its kind in the world, and you can actually walk around it, though it’s behind a big fence designed to keep people out. There are rumors–otherwise known as crazy ass conspiracy theories–that say all sorts of strange stuff happened out here, including mind control, time travel, teleportation, and contact with aliens. Maybe The Foundation knows something about this . . .
While I was at it I looked up a couple of locations that made it into the last book. Like a certain pedestrian bridge in Kansas City:
The Foundation hospital where Annie and Kerry were sent after the Battle of Link Bridge, otherwise known as the Center for Disease Control:
And, lastly, the take-off point for the Mile High Flight, Mount Katahdin.
And, just for laughs, I included this:
You may ask, “Cassie, what’s this?” and the answer is, it’s Groom Lake Test Facility, but you know it better as Area 51. Why would I include this, because it’s not been mentioned. Could it be because it may get mentioned?
You be the judge of that.