Iâ€™ll never forget the day I wired my deposit to my landlord in Italia securing my apartment in Firenze around four years ago to the day. Fed up with the life I was living, I decided to spend some time away from Denver with an extended visit to the place on the face of the earth that I love the most. I found an apartment in the Oltrarno on craigslist and after a string of emails with the owner and her references, one of which was ironically from Boulder, I decided to take the place. I remember one night soon after; listening to the new self titled Pearl Jam album while exploring the location and it’s surroundings on Google Mapâ€™s satellite view to ascertain a better mental visual to what the place would be like. A similar screen grab is pictured above.
Flash forward what seems like a lifetime later to my day at work today at Signature Advertising and some time spent online researching a location for a map I was working on. During said scouring, I ran across Bingâ€™s Birdâ€™s Eye, something I had admittedly not been aware of prior to this day. To use my catch phrase, I cannot lie, Iâ€™d never imagine expressing interest in something created at the hands of Microsoft, but I was taken aback. Simply put, life visualized as Sim City. The vivid detail sense immersion and perspective are quite striking. Hell, I can see the courtyard, where I would sit out at night drinking beers and writing, that my apartment faced from a vantage point other than from directly above. In all honesty, I have not used Google Earth in some time, so Iâ€™m unaware of how that parallels to this, but there is something about this that futher breaks down the boundary between physical and digital. Combine this with Googleâ€™s even closer magnification from above and their Street View and one can create an umbrella visual understanding of a location like never before. To postulate where similar applications will develop to in another four years is an interesting question to ponder.
The one criticism I have of Bingâ€™s Birdâ€™s View is that it tends to lag in terms of the amount of time it takes to render images, if it renders them at all.
As a brief aside, I’ve provided the image above as a comparison to what was visible in 2006 (via recollection) at the closest level on Google Maps and what is now visible at the closest level in 2010.