How to Get a Bird's Eye View of My Home

Written by gus stephens
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How to Get a Bird's Eye View of My Home
Online satellite photos can zoom into your own front yard. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Aerial views give you a different perspective on your property. They can be helpful in planning additions to your home and plotting landscaping. An aerial view is also an important sales tool when you want to put your home on the market. In the pre-internet era, the only way to obtain the aerial view of most private property was to purchase stock survey photos of large areas taken from aeroplanes, then enlarge the portion of your property. It was expensive and time consuming. Today, satellite imagery covers most of the developed nations of the earth and birdseye views of your own backyard -- past and present -- may be just a few clicks away on your computer.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Access Google Earth for satellite images of any location in the United States. These colour images can be zoomed in to view an acceptable amount of detail. The base resolution for U.S. images is 1 meter. In many urban areas, Google Earth provides three-dimensional images of structures blended into the two-dimensional images. Images can be tilted and rotated to provide different perspectives. Google Earth images can be accessed by street address or by latitude and longitude.

  2. 2

    Search straight vertical and slanted views at Bing.com. Microsoft's Bing online mapping feature keys satellite aerial photos to street addresses. Bing provides both a straight-down "12 o'clock" perspective and a birdseye option which is oblique, or slanted, to provide more depth and context than the flatter vertical view. Bing also offers a 3-D plug-in for three dimensional views of urban areas in the United States.

  3. 3

    Order high-resolution .jpg downloads of your property suitable for printing from commercial sites such as TerraServer, Digital Globe, GeoEye and the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Explorer webpage. Both TerraServer and the USGS Earth Explorer site have aerial image databases searchable by standard street address so locating aresidential property is easy.

  4. 4

    Travel back in time with historic aerial views of your home and neighbourhood. HistoricAerials.com provides a recent satellite view of any address. By clicking a date icon in the margin, historic aerial views of the same address are available, dating back as far as 50 to 60 years subject to the availability of archival aerial images for a given address. Most historic views are from aeroplane-mounted aerial cameras and are usually in black and white. All images, current and historical, are available for sale as high resolution downloads.

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