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UER Forum > Rookie Forum > Using Google Earth in a rural area... (Viewed 10006 times)
YotaMan20 


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Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< on 3/29/2016 3:05 AM >
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Hi everybody.

I have been spending a lot of time on Google Earth as well as UER.

After doing some searching, I was unable to find a good "write up" on Google Earth usage.

Many places I see on GE look abandoned but can be deceiving in this area.

Like this:1.


Worth the drive? Hard to tell.

What are some of the tricks you use when searching for places on GE?

Any advice for a n00b like me?




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Steed 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 1 on 3/29/2016 3:11 AM >
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Looks like a high risk to low reward ratio. You're probably more likely to catch a facefull of buckshot than to find anything worth seeing.




YotaMan20 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 2 on 3/29/2016 3:13 AM >
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Looks like a high risk to low reward ratio. You're probably more likely to catch a facefull of buckshot than to find anything worth seeing.


Thanks Steed. I was just using this place as an example. What gives you that impression though?




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blackhawk 

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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 3 on 3/29/2016 3:26 AM >
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Think industrial. Search along RRs and rivers/canals.
I found walking active and abandoned rail lines can yield interesting finds. Always investigate spurs to see where they go. Be careful though, falling on tracks can easily break ribs and more. On active lines use caution; use paths along the tracks when present. Stay off of any high speed lines.

GE lies sometimes too. I've seen many square miles of pipeline infrastructure right of way just looked like fields even though by image date it should have been there.
A real bitch if you're trying to navigate using it...




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LuminousAphid 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 4 on 3/29/2016 4:49 AM >
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Posted by YotaMan20

Any advice for a n00b like me?


I haven't really found anything worthwhile by looking at google earth, usually it just ends up in an hour wasted with nothing to show for it except learning more about the area. I have found a couple of potential drains on it but that's about it. I guess my suggestion would be to use it to find places if you are able to, but don't rely on it alone- always do further research before you decide to head out to a location. It may have been demolished since the images were taken or be under active construction/remediation, etc.




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TD 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 5 on 3/29/2016 4:24 PM >
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I find pretty much all of my locations on Google Earth. Those that I haven't found through google earth I've found while driving to somewhere I found through google earth.

For the particular example shown, I wouldn't make the trip just for that location, not matter how close or far it was. I may drive by it to scope it out if it was on the way to some other location, but on it's own it's not worth it. It's small and doesn't look that exciting.

For potentially abandoned rural locations, I've found a few things can tell you a lot about a building. Most of them are common sense.
1. Plant growth is huge. In rural areas especially, abandoned buildings aren't going to have anyone on landscaping duty. If you see tall grass, overgrown bushes, anything like that, it's a good sign. Inversely, trimmed bushes and a manicured lawn are a sure sign that the area is occupied.
2. Also look out for a lack of paths towards the building in question. If plants have overgrown the path to the building, or better yet if there is no visible path the building, it's a very good sign the property is abandoned.
3. Use street view when you can. Many rural areas don't have any street view data but it's always worth checking. It's pretty easy to tell whether or not a location is abandoned on street view.
4. Always look for the obvious stuff too. Caved in roofs or holes in the wall means the building legally can not be occupied.
5. Rusted roofs will catch your attention, but they're a very poor indicator of whether or not a building is inhabited. If it were me making the decision and the only indicator of vacancy were a rusted roof, I wouldn't do it.
6. If you're not sure about a location, google it (if it looks big enough to come up on google). Use street view to find building/company names. If that's not an option, and it often isn't, google the address. The address will typically turn up a company/owner name which can then be googled to get more information and boom suddenly you're a historian on the place.
7. Look for cars. If there is a car there that looks like it could move, it's probably got a driver. If there's not a car there, the place could be vacant. I personally use google maps satellite view, not google earth, but google earth, I believe, has a function where you can look up the date and time when the image you are looking at was taken. That might not be true, but if it is that information could be used to your advantage. If the picture was taken early in the morning or late at night, or on a weekend, and there's no car, that's a better indicator of vacancy then if it's at noon on a Tuesday.


That's pretty much all I got. When you're trying to decide if a location is abandoned you gotta look at the evidence and weigh it for yourself. There is never a sure shot that something is abandoned or even still there if you're using google earth. A location is worth visiting when you have enough evidence to make the risk negligible compared to the pain of driving there.




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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 6 on 3/29/2016 4:32 PM >
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I also find almost all my stuff on Google Earth with hours and hours of searching. Toggle to street view, check the driveway etc. The history street view is pretty amazing to check if anything has moved or changed.

I sometimes start with or toggle to the topographic map to see what buildings have been there a long time. It also helps find structures that are hidden now by vegetation or obscured, especially in rural areas.

I'll check GE's street view for address numbers too for further research.

It does suck when a place is razed between updates and it looks as though it's still there.

I use Google's My Maps to pin drop with description for trips to check out multiple locations.



[last edit 3/29/2016 4:33 PM by skatchkins - edited 1 times]

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Peptic Ulcer 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 7 on 3/29/2016 4:34 PM >
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Google earth is a useful tool overall to spot potential sites and to map out locations you're interested in. The street view is probably the best tool for confirming if a building is abandoned. There can be a disconnect however. I've found that the satellite view is usually more current than the street view so make sure you compare the two images.

When looking on a satellite view, I tend to look for large structures, with roof damage. As Blackhawk pointed out, railways and bodies of water are also a good place to start. Typically, these places will have roads leading into/in front of the building that you can use street view to confirm.

As far as rural exploration, it's an absolute crap shoot, GE or not. I've run into places that I would have sworn were abandoned based on what I saw on GE, infiltrated it only to find a truck or car parked on the property and people living in really crappy housing.

I do a ton or RUREX, more out of necessity than desire, and it's always more dangerous than most urban settings. Farmers with guns, hoboes, meth cookers and pot growers are all standard dangers facing rural abandonments. Generally these places aren't even that interesting inside but the exteriors can be neat.

Remember, it's called Urban EXPLORATION. If all you want to do is just go see cool abandonments then you are missing out on half the fun. The journey, the spontaneous discovery of another site while on the road, and the time you spend with friends and family are all part of the hobby. My best explores have come by just driving by someplace and saying, "Oh look a fence! Bet there's something cool behind that or they wouldn't be trying to keep me out!"




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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 8 on 3/29/2016 5:11 PM >
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Google Earth isn't always up-to-date a lot of their imagery is from 2013





YotaMan20 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 9 on 3/29/2016 5:57 PM >
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Thank you all for your awesome responses.

Time after time, I drive by places that I cant necessarily slow down to have a better look at or see them along side the freeway. Looking on GE, many houses have distorted roofs or walls so your advice about different tools will probably help me out a bit more.

I saw a beautiful old blue house off the freeway...I looked on GE and although the image is distorted, looks like it could work. Is there a way to get the address of the the place if there is no street view? When I click in the location, I get something like address-address.

It is so cool to see these places and find information about them knowing that most people don't even realize they are there. haha




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KD20 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 10 on 3/29/2016 7:44 PM >
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Posted by YotaMan20
When I click in the location, I get something like address-address.



Do you mean something like 1068-1096 Main Street?

I've gotten this a few times. It took a few minutes, but what I did was type each individual address within the range they gave into the county auditor's site until I found what I was looking for.




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Agent Case 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 11 on 3/29/2016 7:51 PM >
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Don't get too hooked in on just using google earth. I say this because bing maps has the little known capability to actually change your viewing angle. For instance, pull up Alcatraz island in maps.bing.com. If you make sure you are oriented in north up view first, you will notice that you can't see the north side of the main cellblock. If you rotate left twice (by the arrows around the compass rose on the right side) you are now looking south, and can see that north side. This can help you in many areas where there might be cover blocking the satellite imagery, and can show you that car hiding under a tree on what looks to be an abandoned location.


They don't have that imagery for everywhere, and it doesn't work at all levels of zoom, but they also use a different mapping resource than google. This just gives you another resource to check out your initial thoughts. It's saved me once or twice from walking into a bad situation involving a hillbilly and a shotgun, most likely =]




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YotaMan20 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 12 on 3/30/2016 1:57 AM >
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type each individual address within the range they gave


I'll have to do that next time. Thanks!


bing maps has the little known capability to actually change your viewing angle


I don't think I would have known this if it wasn't for you. I didn't even know bing had a map service. lol




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Abby Normal 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 13 on 3/30/2016 3:04 AM >
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I use GE a lot when I'm searching for old mines to explore. Pretty much every mine worth exploring has an adjacent tailings pile so GE is ideal. I've found quite a few locations that aren't on any of the maps or databases that I have access to. It's not the solution for every explorer, but it is one more tool for finding potential locations.

Abby Normal




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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 14 on 3/30/2016 6:00 AM >
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Posted by Agent Case
Don't get too hooked in on just using google earth. I say this because bing maps has the little known capability to actually change your viewing angle.


You can do this on Google Earth too. CTRL+drag to change angle.




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Agent Case 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 15 on 3/30/2016 3:36 PM >
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Viewing angle was completely the wrong term. Basically, bing actually has 4 sets of images from the cardinal directions for each area. That is, for most places, they have 4 separate sat shots of each area. The image is actually different between each cardinal direction angle. Simply angle panning doesn't change it, just like the image stays the same even as you change the viewing angle on GE.




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YotaMan20 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 16 on 3/30/2016 11:09 PM >
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Thanks everybody! This has been helpful for me and I'm sure it'll be a good resource for others as well.




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Jonsered 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 17 on 3/31/2016 1:40 AM >
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I do primarily mine and ghost town explo, and GE rocks for that purpose. Tailing piles stand out like a turd in a punchbowl, and ghost towns don't tend to get repurposed.




I have changed my personal exploring ethics code. From now on it will be: "Take only aimed shots, leave only hobo corpses." Copper scrappers, meth heads and homeless beware. The Jonsered cometh among you, bringing fear and dread.

CliffsEdge 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 18 on 5/12/2016 12:37 AM >
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This thread is a treasure trove of information! I haven't used Google Earth at all in my research, but with all these great tips, I think ill give it a try!




MAVFieldUnit 


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Re: Using Google Earth in a rural area...
< Reply # 19 on 5/12/2016 6:08 PM >
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Posted by CliffsEdge
This thread is a treasure trove of information!


Seconded...thanks for asking and thanks for the responses.

The only thing I have ever used GE for was trying to find the best way in to some (now destroyed) ramps to nowhere.




UER Forum > Rookie Forum > Using Google Earth in a rural area... (Viewed 10006 times)
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