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Using Google Earth for Hike Planning

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					Using Google Earth for Hike Planning
If you have been around the Internet for the a while you probably already
know about Google Earth. Google Earth is a satellite imagery system that
is available for free for your computer. The program allows you to vie w
3D images of our planet, and zoom in very close to a location. You can
search for landmarks, addresses, and many other items using the layers
available for it. Something that I have recently started doing (primarily
just out of plain curiosity) is using Google Earth to see where I am
going to hike.
By no means does this replace a topographical map, but it is a lot more
enjoyable to be able to see where I plan on hiking from the expansive
satellite imagery available. All you need is to know the general ar ea of
where you are hiking, and you are generally able to find the trail head;
by following the roadways to the parking lot. Another option is to
download the GPS data for it and Google Earth will plot the location. At
www.AlbertaTrails.ca, they actually plot the trail as well, so you are
able to follow the path you will take. As mentioned earlier, this doesn't
replace any maps that you will need on the trail, but it is a nice
addition to your hiking trip.
Don't confuse Google Earth with Google Maps, altho ugh Google Maps does
offer satellite imagery. Google Maps is a web based service primarily
used for searching for directions or local businesses. AlbertaTrails.ca
implements Google Maps on their website, showing the hiking trail from a
birds eye view. Google Earth is a 3D model, where a user can rotate, zoom
in and out, and "fly to" other locations on the map. These two services
offered for free from Google are a very powerful duo allowing potential
hikers to see where they plan on going before hand. It is also nice to
return to your computer after hitting the trails and see where you hiked.
Google Earth is available for download as part of a Google Pack, which
includes Picasa for organizing, editing and publishing photos, Mozilla
Firefox with Google Toolbar for safer browsing and Google Talk, an
instant messaging program. Note that you can choose to just download
Google Earth by deselecting the other software.
Article courtesy of Alberta Trails.ca
http://www.AlbertaTrails.ca - Find a hiking trail in Alberta
Alberta Trails.ca has a growing database of hiking and scrambling trails
in Alberta. The website offers an interactive search by map feature for
hikes near you.

				
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