I don’t know how many of you use Google Earth or are familiar with it but I love it. For the last seven years, my wife and I have lived adjoining one of the game preserves in the Sandhills region of North Carolina. Forty-three thousand acres of woods. That’s a lot
of woods and if you know anything about the Sandhills you know that it is rather flat and covered with long-leaf pines. Like Davy Crockett, I was born and raised in the woods so I can easily find my way around…but my wife can’t. That was where Google Earth came into play.With Google Earth I could zoom in and print maps of every little detail, access roads, lakes, fire brakes and trails. It showed us how to get to places and an idea of what we would see when we arrived. This can be important to people who are not at home in places were you are miles from a public road and everything looks the same. (This has almost become obsolete with smart phone apps.) This situation, however, introduced me to the program.
With Extinction, the program was not of particular importance, since much of it is loosely located in the area where I grew up, but in the book I am working on now it has been indispensable. The setting of this book, post all-out nuclear war, involves a journey covering Las Vegas to Chicago…by horseback. There are a lot more details to notice from the back of a horse versus a car traveling seventy miles an hour.
Covering twenty to thirty-five miles a day, camping under the stars, and trying to be as accurate as possible left me with several problems. What will the vegetation look like, the landscape at each area, even the route itself? I fell in love. With Google Earth. I can follow the route and at any time I can not only zoom in but I can also switch to street view and see the panoramic view of the surrounding area. I can see the sage brush or the cedar trees, the flat dry desert areas or the cliffs surrounding a mountain pass. I could even drop down on the Vegas strip and view the Bellagio or Caesar’s Palace, or the little stream which skirts the east side of the little town of Mesquite, NV or the narrow mountain pass outside of Denver.If you are not familiar with this program, it would be well worth your time to check it out. You may grow to love it like I do.
H.V. Purvis is author of Extinction, a sci-fi/horror series.