Mountain Man

I’m sure that almost all of you, by now, are familiar with Google Earth. This fantastic tool, which requires nothing more than a good Internet connection and a free software download, allows the user to zoom in on high-resolution satellite images of any location on the Earth’s surface. The resolution varies from place to place, but will only get better with time, and already there are large patches of the planet that are represented in astonishing detail. The pictures aren’t live, of course, but are snapshots taken on clear days over the past three years or so.

Google Earth, aside from its many practical uses, is tremendously entertaining, and various games and diversions have sprung up around it (have a look at the links at the bottom of this page on Wikipedia). Some people, known as “spotters”, just “fly” around, looking for odd and interesting sights. Earlier today I ran across a link to an article that mentions an unusually anthropomorphic rock formation in Alberta, Canada, found by a Google Earth spotter who goes by the nickname Supergranny. It is about 25 miles east of Medicine Hat (the Gas City), and puts the “Face on Mars” to shame. It is also rather more up-to-date, as the figure is apparently listening to an iPod.

You can read the article, and see the image, here, but if you already have Google Earth installed it would probably be more fun just to go take a look yourself. The coordinates (you can paste them right into the search bar) are: 50° 0’38.20″N 110° 6’48.32″W.

If you don’t have this amazing program on your system already, you should fetch it at once, because it is at or near the high-water mark of human ingenuity. And what is even more impressive is that Google also offers a similar viewer for the surface of Mars.

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