Sunday, March 16, 2008

Aerial Photography, Ghost Towns and the Internet

When it comes to ghost town hunting, there never seems to be a good way to "get the big picture" of something you're researching - especially when you're at the location, face to face with crumbling structures surrounded by grown in surroundings. It can take days of hiking and keen observations to actually "get the big picture" and start to make sense of ruins and remains.

The internet can give you a HUGE boost in that "big picture" department. There are a number aerial map interfaces and archives available online, but none that is so all-inclusiv
e and user-friendly as Google Earth.

Click the photos to see larger!

While Google Earth has always been really great, it just got even better for those of us in Pennsylvania.

Maybe some of you had tried Google Earth before for PA areas and were disappointed by the lack of detail available, like I was. For areas around me in Tioga County, the amount you could zoom in before it got fuzzy was fairly pathetic.

That is all different now! PA DCNR just recently integrated their updated aerial photo archive into Google Earth and the difference is amazing! You really have to check it out for yourself (especially if you're a ghost town enthusiast), but, I've included these examples here to give you an idea of the kind of detail you can get.

The top photo is of what I like to call "downtown Landrus" - it's the "four corners" type spot where the stone monument stands. You can also see the creek quite nicely, the little waterfall is the location of the old log-jam dam.

You'll notice at the four corners that there are two vehicles and just below and to the left of the vehicles, a smaller rigid shadow - that is the stone monument. But what about those vehicles?

(sidenote: if you look in my driveway back in Blossburg in the aerial photos, there are no cars in the driveway)

As I zoomed in on this spot initially, I realized that the vehicle parked next to the monument is none other than my Jeep!! Either that, or it's someone else with a white Jeep with black hardtop that parks in my parking spot!

Have fun! I have another great vintage aerial photo resource, but I'll save that for another day...

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