Without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to crop circles is Google Earth. This circle in the desert just outside Beatty, Nevada (Google Earth coordinates 37.401437,-116.86773), is one of hundreds spotted with the software.
This giant pink bunny (Google Earth coordinates 44.244273,7.769737) in Prata Nevoso, Italy, was built by a group of artists from Vienna, according to published accounts. It’s 200 feet long and answers to the name “Hare.”
Dubbed The Badlands Guardian by locals, this geological marvel (Google Earth coordinates 50.010083,-110.113006) in Alberta, Canada, bears an uncanny resemblance to a human head wearing a full Native American headdress–and earphones, to boot. Of course, The Guardian was produced naturally.
As if Oprah Winfrey’s celebrity weren’t big enough already, an Arizona farmer built a 10-acre homage to the talk show host (Google Earth coordinates 33.225488,-111.5955). Visitors can tell their friends, “I got lost inside Oprah’s head.”
If you’re in the intelligence business, Google Earth makes hiding big things nearly impossible. This image is believed to be of a 1.8-square-mile scale model of a disputed region on the border of China and India. Google Earth spotters found it in a remote area in north central China (Google Earth coordinates 38.265652,105.9517). One theory on why this model exists comes from the Australian publication The Age, which reported that the scale model is used to train tank drivers.
Spend enough time on Google Earth, and you start thinking that the world is a pretty low-resolution place. But Google Earth is steadily updating its maps with high-resolution pictures. Zoom in on this Google Earth satellite shot of Australia’s Bondi Beach (Google Earth coordinates -33.892351,151.27538), and you can almost read the designer labels on the bikinis.
National Geographic partnered with Google Earth on a project called Africa Megaflyover. The magazine has made more than 500 high-resolution images accessible through Google Earth, including this close-up view (Google Earth coordinates 15.298693,19.429661) of camels and their caretakers taking a water break in Nigeria.
Think parking is tough where you live? In Westenbergstraat, Netherlands, drivers apparently have to park on the sides of walls (Google Earth coordinates 52.069207,4.3139865).
Nothing can replace hopping in a plane and going somewhere, but Google Earth gives you a small taste of what you might see when you visit some of the world’s tourist destinations. This spectacular shot shows Victoria Falls (Google Earth coordinates -17.925511,25.858223) on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other virtual destinations worth flying over are Mt. Everest (27.985866,86.92844) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (-3.0726042,37.343093).
Crane Collapse – Holland
Sometimes Google Earth is lucky enough to catch things as they happen. Here Google Earth captures a truck that crashed (Google Earth coordinates 46.765669,-100.79274) outside of Bismarck, North Dakota. In another instance, Google Earth caught fishermen illegally bottom-trawling (28.102512,-14.265835) beaches near Spain’s Canary Islands