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berkshirescouter

Google Earth

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Google has a new feature called Google Earth. After you down load the application you can go to any location on earth and zoom down to almost ground level. Looks like a good tool for checking out camping areas. A lot easier to use then the Topo that microsoft has.

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I love this program. (I love any program that has maps in it, but that's beside the point). I use it every day for my job, and especially for the size of the program, I highly recommend everyone to give it a shot.

 

As a caveat, it does not have great resolution for every part of the US. Most areas, once you're down to around 1000 ft altitude, you won't be able to pick out much detail. That being said, most Urban areas have less than 1 meter resolution - which you'd normally have to pay for from Terraserver.com or topozone. Once you have this loaded, check out sites like the Empire State Bldg or Sears Tower in Chicago - you'd almost think you can tell the color of the hair on the tourists heads!

 

However, in some areas, it has amazing resolution. For some reason, the entire state of NJ has been photographed and made available to a resolution of probably less than a foot (meaning you can see details/objects as small as a foot wide). This is great for me, as that's where I'm from, and I've been able to locate not only the campsites but the lean-to's that we've used as well.

 

For coast-to-coast picutures, I highly recommend NASA's Worldwind program. This one's a monster, and will suck your computer dry of memory. I use it on a Thinkpad T40 (1.5 yrs old)laptop, and everything else gets noticeably slower. But it's worth it. www.worldwind.arc.nasa.gov . I don't recommend downloading it over a dial-up. The best feature is that it incorporates terrain elevation into the imagery (something GoogleEarth does, but not nearly as well). This allows you to actual tilt the image and see it rendered 3D, using a process called vertical exageration (sp?). The Delaware Water Gap looks a whole lot different when you can actually see the mountains rise up from either side. Unfortunately, it also makes the trail seem that much steeper, but that's another issue.

 

Oh yeah - you can also switch back and forth from a topo map to a satellite photo.

 

That's all for now. I'll take off my Geek Crusader cape and return you all to your regular programming.

 

--Gags

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OGE,

 

I first did the trail up the Sunfish Pond when I was a Webelo - since LNT was mostly unknown at the time, I was able to collect a few cool rock specimens for my Geoligist activity pin along the way. :-)

 

I've probably done the trail about 3 times, and have also done the "switchback" trail, which I think is the official AT portion, in the interest of saving time. It's a great hike - that was the destination of my first backpacker. We ended up doing a lap around the whole pond b/c my SPL was delirious with a fever and didn't recognize where the campsite was. Ahhh, the good ol' days.

 

Last time I was there (2 or 3 years ago), the "popular" thing seemed to be to build rock towers in the pond out of the shale/slate. Makes for an interesting shoreline, but does make you realize the impact one person can have, then another, then another...

 

Have you done much hiking in PA/ Northern NJ? There's a 20 mile segment between 2 camps you can do that has a numbered patch to go with it.

 

--Gags

 

 

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