My brother sent me a link to Microsoft’s http://local.live.com that does the close-up arial from MIT one better, and it even does it from an angle, so you can see the height of the buildings. Not only that, but you can actually see 1) the satellite dish on our roof and 2) our old car. I’m not sure I like this, although at least it’s not live (that car, like us, no longer lives there and the satellite dish was later moved to a higher place on the roof because the trees were growing too high and we were losing transmission in the summer months). I make it to be about 3 or 4 years old.
Click each of these to see them at full magnification:
I have to say that I’m surprised that the Department of Homeland Security isn’t starting to get worked up about these mapping systems (Maybe they are and we just don’t know about it, a common situation these days.) Add in GPS locaters (as you can do with the Google system) and you’ve got something of an Urban Tactical Mapping system on a shoestring. There’s an electrical substation near the top left of one of the maps, and taking it out would be a lot easier if you could see all of the side-streets, where the police would be most likely to come from, as well as your escape route(s). With the power out all out for the neighborhood, robbing the businesses in the area would be a lot easier, battery backups aside.
I hate to be looking at just the bad (criminal or terrorist) side of this. After all, systems like this could also insure that fleets of ambulances and taxicabs reach their destinations faster and with less fuel spent idling in traffic jams and less exhaust spewed into the air. Technology is always neutral.