Once upon a time, in the far, far away land of Techgeeks lived two university pals named Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They spent long hours dreaming of a company that one day would be the biggest search engine in the world, offering mere mortals the opportunity to traverse the great plains of the planet without moving their lazy asses.
Information would be available at the touch of a square key and people could search for the most bizarre, beautiful, weird and wonderful images relayed by satellites dotted around the globe. This would make for a very happy life.
This is Google Earth.
12 Faces of Google Earth
1. The Château de Versailles, although some 20 km from the capital of France, was once the centre of political power, making it a revered institution and highly-visited sight. The gardens of Versailles cover 800 hectares of land and have been carefully manicured for centuries in the traditional French style. Only since the advent of Google Earth have we been able to view the lawns so meticulously, revealing this smiley face hidden in the grounds.
2.The definite profile of a smiling, bearded man can be made out from the hedgerows around these fields. Actually, it could be Abe Lincoln without his hat. Anyone else agree?
3. A native American Indian, replete with feathered headdress, is hiding in the hills of Alberta, Canada, and by the looks of it he’s found a way to pass the time – dangling from his ear looks something suspiciously like an iPod ear piece. Wonder what he’s listening to.
4. The ghostly image of a lady appears in a field in Ohio. Zooming in closer to the image reveals the eyes may be trees that the farmer has cut around and the mouth is just a naturally darker patch of grass. Ah, the wonders of nature.
5. And in total contrast to the aforementioned image, the hand of man etches a number of similar images in a clearing in Denmark. The original mask design was created by none other than Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Titled ‘The Sun as a Face’, this face-shaped forest was planted in Odense in 2005 as part of the bicentennial celebrations of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth.
Odense town planners seem to have liked Ugly Duckling author’s design so much they decorated half the town in the design. This smaller version is a nature playground to the north of the larger forest face.
6. We’ve found Jesus! He was hiding in the Peruvian sand dunes the whole time.
7. This uncanny image of a sniffing, capped chef is found on the corner of the island of Sicily, home to some of the world’s finest cooking.
8. Not the most obvious of Google’s findings but atop these rocks on a tiny island off the West Coast of Ireland, it looks as if there’s a face with a pronounced Romanesque nose looking out to sea. It never ceases to amaze what the mind's eye can see with very little persuasion.
9. Often referred to as one of the most influential women in the world, chat show host Oprah Winfrey certainly knows how to draw an audience. No wonder she’s also the richest women on TV. *Must get snipping.
10. A cheeky little imp in a field in Germany looks as if it was created by crop circle artists who got bored trying to do the real thing. Just to the side of the face are a number of tiny failed crop circles.
11. Not the clearest of images, as the original design is becoming overgrown, but the outline of a burst pumpkin is still visible. It looks as if it would have required a serious amount of planning and effort to pull it off.
12. Scary but true. As if the fast food giants don't bombard us with enough advertising, they've decided to conquer clients from via Google, too. In 2006, KFC took The Colonel to the Nevada desert in the hope of making the first visible logo from space.
It was revealed, not long after the stunt, to be a PR exercise in viral marketing. Needless to say, it worked.
Bodies and Body Parts
13. We're not sure what the lake is called but the image is amazing. It looks just like a man with top hat and cane taking a walk across the countryside, quite literally.
14. A lake in Borborema, Brazil was designed in the shape of a man but we doubt whether the idea was to be seen from space as the regrowth within the lake looks quite old. Still, great idea.
15. Created as part of her Media Arts degree, student Melanie Coles created huge paintings of children’s book character Waldo, or Wally as he’s known outside America, to be placed on various rooftops in Vancouver, Canada, so everyone can play the Where’s Waldo game.
Surely, Melanie must have gained a first for her efforts because the images of her ‘Where on Earth Is Waldo?’ project are dotted all over the internet.
16. Another swanky house with inbuilt smiling face, this time with a body. It looks entirely intentional.
17. Casper the friendly ghost trying to make friends and influence people via Google Earth.
18. Likened to the face of Mother Earth, these kilometre-wide pair of Angelina Jolie-style lips can be found in the Sudanese region of West Darfur. The sides of the rocky canyon are about 40 meters high giving it the pout look.
19. Calm down boys! Yes, it’s real, and not only can you touch it, if you book a trip to Sicily (which seems to have a few strange sights for a little island) you can walk and lie all over this babe, too. That should keep some people happy. They’d be desperate, but happy.
20. This fabulous peacock shape was created by the wake of a speed boat, and captured forever on Google Earth.
21. A monkey is on the loose somewhere in Mexico. The design resembles ancient Mesoamerican art, giving a clue to its age, though we're not entirely sure. UPDATE: Okay, okay, the monkey's in Peru. Take a chill pill guys.
Symbols and Shapes
22. Finally, proof that giants did exist, and that they’re none too clever by leaving fingerprints behind. This tell-tale sign can be found in Hove Park, near Brighton and Hove in the UK. It measures 38 metres around. Imagine the size of the hand!
23. Don’t worry ladies; we’ve got something for you too. And although you can touch it and walk all over these half-mile long hill-top sperm, they’re not much use. Much like… no, that would be wrong.
24. You wouldn’t normally find New Zealand’s national symbol in the English countryside but in 1919, after World War I, New Zealand soldiers staying at camp in Beacon Hill in Wiltshire etched the bird into the grounds. A riot had broken out among the troops while they were waiting for their boats home so officers put them to work creating a giant kiwi along with the letters ‘NZ’ to keep the rowdy bunch out of trouble. The kiwi’s body is 6,100 sq m and the beak alone is 46 m long. That’s a big bird.
25. In the early days of Firefox, a few devoted fans wanted to generate more PR for their beloved site and so gathered a team of people in Amity, Oregon to recreate the Firefox logo in a field; their very own crop fox. It has long since grown out but this overlaid image is a recreation of the original design within Google Earth.
26. This swastika-shaped building on a US Navy base in California was never designed to entice as much speculation as it has. Some people think the architect designed the building purely to maximize light in the space given as well as to allow for greenspaces around the site. Others think the building should be amended so that it no longer looks like a symbol associated with so much bad history.
27. This celestial-looking triangle was spotted in the desert north of Vegas. We're not sure what it is or why it was created, so if anyone has any clues, please enlighten us.
28. The effects of logging are all too visible when viewed from Google Earth, but, here, some of the loggers seem to have a conscience as well as an aesthetic eye, producing a chessboard-like landscape.
29. The farmer of this land has obviously gone all creative on his days off producing a great image of a tractor in one of the fields.
30. Few people will have not seen this image of one many sea-based hotels built in Dubai. The Palm Jumeirah is a unique man-made island built in the shape of a date palm tree. It consists of a trunk, 17 fronds and a surrounding crescent island, which forms a water-breaker. And don't get us started on the damage caused to the environment during the build, and since.