Here’s a fun little game I’ve been playing today. You might remember Flash Earth, a flash interface to the satellite imagery available through Google and Windows Live Local. While nifty, the one great limitation of this application is the almost complete lack of labels and location input in the interface. But this provides the perfect challenge for a game.
Take this app and find your home on Earth, from the completely zoomed out position, using only the imagery as your guide. Can you find it? Try to think of landmarks, find your city, and follow the streets. Pretend you’ve been abducted by aliens and are now trying to show them where to drop you off. Because heavens, you never know when such a skill could come in handy.
Now zoom out again and find the Empire State Building. The Great Pyramids of Egypt. The Eiffel Tower. Your old school.
Isn’t is amazing how we live on a world so big, yet at other times it seems so small? To me it is strangely gratifying to be able to say “This is where I am.” while knowing that I found it for myself. It is a puzzle and a philosophical experiement. In all of human history, this capacity and freedom is unprecedented. We are able to experience and enjoy how big our world is on such a practical level. Even though modern mapping systems make it so easy to locate a point of interest, to me it is profound and so gratifying to zoom in and find myself. Can you?