It has been 20 years since Google Earth released an interactive software that put futuristic and impossible high-tech gadgetry from classic spy and CIA books/movies into the hands of everyone (including my 12-year-old self at the time)!

The program was absolutely awesome from the get-go, with seamless sweeping motions zooming in and out of satellite imagery showing, what seemed like, every square inch of our planet. I remember starting with a search of my house in Corvallis, Oregon, then broadening to other states and cities in the US, and finally enjoying an exploration of cities, towns, villages in counties I felt I would never experience.

Today, Google Earth/Maps remain the single most amazing piece of technology for me, and is used every day by most Americans to make life easier – as it has of course continued to develop into a place for real-time traffic updates, street views, integration with customer feedback and reviews, and plenty of hidden “easter eggs” for inquisitive users.

My recommendation to every reader of this blog is to download the Google Earth App for Windows or Apple today and start exploring the wonderful insights available at your fingertips. I hope in doing so you will be inspired to pursue new endeavors, visit new places, and take time to appreciate that the future of past decades (think James Bond, circa 1960s, is NOW).

– Lee Sumner, Research Director