Friday, July 29, 2005

Validating the Internet

Although I have been in New Mexico so many times I'd never be able to count them, I had plotted and outlined my latest novel project using my memories of the locations, and fresh looks through internet mapping services such as Google Maps and Terraserver. I located all of the important locations that way. I would often pick a location based on travel times or old memories, and then refine my choices, once I had a satellite photo of the place. I located lots of interesting locales that way, such as the roundhouse in Las Vegas, New Mexico, or the road side park about 40 miles north of Roswell.

But when the opportunity came to make this trip and eyeball the locations first hand, in the back of my mind, I wondered just how good the internet mapping was. After all, some of the aerial photos and topo maps are twenty years old. A lot can happen in that time.

So today, when I saw the roundhouse come into view here in Las Vegas, I was gleeful. (People who know me may try to imagine what that was like. Anyone ever see me gleeful? Anyone?)

There it was, right where the satellite photo said it was, in just the exact condition I had expected ( and had counted on while outlining the novel). I snapped a few photos and located my motel, one that looked just like I had imagined.

Tomorrow, I have more scouting to do in this town, but for now, everything looks great.

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