Monday, 07 February 2011 22:01

Google Earth: Boldy go ogle what no one has ogled before

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From tales of discovering the lost city of Atlantis, to the latest discovery from an Australian whose Google Earth armchair archaeology suggests large parts of Saudi Arabia are 'immensely rich in archaeological remains' and 'probably several thousand years old", armchair archaeologists are finding new things to go ogle!

Google Earth, Google Maps and Street View, have made new views of the world available to anyone a net-connected PC/notebook, tablet or smartphone.

In the scheme of things on a universal scale, they've only been here for the blink of an eye, but already we take these and competing services for granted, and already there have been many stories of interesting discoveries though Google Earth and Google Street View.

The latest discovery is of ancient archaeological remains in Saudi Arabia, viewed thanks to high resolution satellite imagery in Google Earth, as published in the Journal of Archaeological Science and as reported in New Scientist.

The discoverer is David Kennedy, from the University of Western Australia.

New Scientist quotes him saying he has never been to Saudi Arabia, but that he 'scanned 1240 square kilometres in Saudi Arabia using Google Earth', where 'he found 1977 potential archaeological sites'.

Mr Kennedy noted that Google Earth's high-res satellite imagery gave him access to effectively otherwise unavailable aerial views of the country, with a locally based non-archaeological friend driving out to one of the locations Mr Kennedy identified to take a photo to then send it him for visual confirmation. 

Although the abstract notes that 'initial investigations already suggest large parts of the country are immensely rich in archaeological remains and most of those identified are certainly pre-Islamic and probably several thousand years old', the New Scientist notes that while Mr Kennedy believes 'the sites may be up to 9000 years old', he also says that 'but ground verification is needed', he is specifically quoted saying: 'Just from Google Earth it's impossible to know whether we have found a Bedouin structure that was made 150 years ago, or 10,000 years ago'.

So what of claims that the Lost City of Atlantis was found on Google Earth, and what are some of the best Google Earth discoveries?

Details on page two, please read on!


The Lost City of Atlantis was supposedly found on Google Earth, but while the theory was debunked by Google itself in an official blog post as being nothing more than 'ship tracks' as a result of 'echosounding' as the ship maps the ocean floor using sound waves, which work best in water.

If you want more cool Google Earth finds like an alphabet made from aerial views of buildings, what looks like a super granny with iPod headphones, love heart shaped islands and much more, Oddee.com's list is worth viewing, while Time Magazine has its own list of Top 10 Google Earth finds, among more online.

Who knows - if you spend some exploring Google Earth and parts of the world, you could become the next armchair archaeologist to discover of a new meteor crater, evidence of a legendarily long lost super island or city of gold, Lasseter's Reef, alien artifact, mining site, oil field, sunken treasure - or anything else that no one has ogled before.

Along with new Google Earth and Ocean discoveries, new Street View discoveries arise from time to time too, and who knows what someone will find using Google Sky?

It all shows that while space may be the final frontier, as the famous sci-fi TV show explains, the many and varied frontiers on and of Planet Earth are still yet to be fully explored.

 

 

 

 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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