Whenever I fly, I'm always amazed by the unique view you get of the earth's surface when looking down from thousands of feet up.

You can get such aerial views without boarding a plane, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. They have millions of aerial photographs, many taken during the last few years from about 20,000 feet up. These photos are used mainly by mapmakers, earth scientists, and urban planners, among others, but they're also available on the web at the following location:


At this site, simply enter the name of the area you'd like to see, and you'll get a list of images that are available. The images may be a few years old, so you may get a view that's a little dated. But trust me, it's very interesting and informative and fun to try and locate your neighborhood, and, yes, maybe even your house, in one of these photos.

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