I am now quite used to searching Google Maps and switching to Satellite view to see aerial photographs of the country. In fact its quite good fun doing a virtual tour of the canals and we can even cut out the hard work by using Tony Blews’ Google Earth Canal Maps website.
From 18th March 2009 we can now not only look down from above but also literally walk through the streets with Google Street view. First impressions are great – you drag a little yellow man onto the map and the streets which he knows all light up – follow the arrows on the screen and you can move up and down, and grab the screen with the mouse to turn through 360 degrees – you can even look over walls and bridges.
In this first release it seems we can now walk through Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Southampton and York (England); Belfast (Northern Ireland); Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow (Scotland); Cardiff and Swansea (Wales). The imaging software is incredibly clever, even blocking out car number plates and peoples faces – although after a quick test I can see this doesn’t always work too well.
So where’s the canals link? Test out Castle Street in Manchester, for a start off : you can walk right over the Rochdale Canal at Lock 92 and down into the Castlefield area. It looks like most of the pictures are only a year or so old, much more recent than most Google aerial photography. Let me know of any other good canal locations which you find!
Below you should be seeing a live view – click on the picture and have fun – but it doesn’t seem to be loading every time. If theres no picture then try reloading or follow the link to Google at the end.