Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

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PeterMollenburg
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Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Apr 23, 2023 3:54 am

Often, when shirking other responsibilities (like performing cardiac surgery, brain surgery, or just plain orthopedic surgery) I like to get onto Google Maps and 'travel' about the place (usually Europe for me). Is it just me? I swear sometimes with some of my favourite places, my heart nearly skips a beat as I click along a street in street view longing to be in these places dear to me in person. Anyone else?
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Re: Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby Iversen » Sun Apr 23, 2023 7:32 am

Isn't it more like Google Earth? I do look at maps (not least the bird's eye views), but for 'pure' maps I prefer the oldfashioned printed ones with lots of street names and no ads. I use Google maps to illustrate my own trips because they cover everywhere I have been, but then I have to spend a lot of time editing the ads away. And yes, I know that they finance the maps, but I nevertheless find them irritating.
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Re: Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby jeffers » Sun Apr 23, 2023 8:27 am

I use Google Maps constantly when I'm reading history or watching a documentary about a place. I want to find out where things are actually situated and I often look at street view when a place is described so I can see it "for real". In my head I'm wondering what it would be like to actually be there, and what I would do if I were to visit.

I've even started a custom map of Paris with pins for important locations from a few of my favourite films and books.
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Re: Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby Axon » Sun Apr 23, 2023 1:04 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:Often, when shirking other responsibilities (like performing cardiac surgery, brain surgery, or just plain orthopedic surgery) I like to get onto Google Maps and 'travel' about the place (usually Europe for me). Is it just me? I swear sometimes with some of my favourite places, my heart nearly skips a beat as I click along a street in street view longing to be in these places dear to me in person. Anyone else?


I did this a lot during the past four years away from China. Baidu street view isn't quite as comprehensive as Google street view, nor quite as high quality, but it scratched the itch. I also enjoyed "Walking in..." videos, which are a genre of video on YouTube where someone takes a stabilized camera and just walks around a city without commentary. You can find these for hundreds of cities around the world.

Now I'm actually in China again. Just for a short while, but it was worth the wait. I'm sure the next time you get to Europe it'll be the same for you!
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Re: Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby Adrianslont » Mon Apr 24, 2023 9:21 am

Hell, no. You are not alone.

I have been unable to travel for four years now due to the pandemic, health problems and family issues - google maps has been a vicarious joy.

I revisit places and explore new ones.

And I look for myself or my car. I’ve been filmed for street view by Apple Maps several times in the last couple of years. And once by google maps some years back.

All after I’ve finished my work on a cure for cancer, domestic duties and language study for the day.
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Re: Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue May 02, 2023 12:52 am

jeffers wrote:I use Google Maps constantly when I'm reading history or watching a documentary about a place. I want to find out where things are actually situated and I often look at street view when a place is described so I can see it "for real".


Yep, I know what you mean... One year while watching The Tour de France, I'd look up the villages, countryside and roads while watching the coverage to get further 'data' on the places the cyclists were racing through. I was super keen especially when passing through areas I'd short-listed as potential spots I could see the family relocating too. There had to be certain essential elements, so I'm even known to use Terrain to see elevation, hills etc and I even check out rivers (for kayaking), hospitals (for work) and so on. Yep, street view is great for a real on-the-ground perspective - I use it a lot.

I can't relate to people who don't know their geography at least to some extent. If I hear of someone living overseas, holidaying somewhere etc, I usually want to look it up on Google Maps (of course there are alternatives to Google) to get an idea of the location and appearance of the area. This builds understanding, such as where countries, towns, regions are situated in relation to each other, what they look like on the ground, and which languages are spoken there - Wikipedia use on that last one. Of course certain continents, and certain countries I'm much more keen than others to investigate via armchair travel.

I have lost count of how many people I've asked, when I disovered their Dutch or sometimes French background and they have no idea where their (grand)parent(s) (or another relative or perhaps a close friend) was/were from. In reality, I do get it - it's not a priority for many to know where things are situated in the world. They are not attracted to the same things in life as I am. I get it, knowing how a motor functions for example isn't that interesting to me, but geography, cultures, languages, yes.
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Re: Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue May 02, 2023 12:59 am

Axon wrote:I did this a lot during the past four years away from China. Baidu street view isn't quite as comprehensive as Google street view, nor quite as high quality, but it scratched the itch. I also enjoyed "Walking in..." videos, which are a genre of video on YouTube where someone takes a stabilized camera and just walks around a city without commentary. You can find these for hundreds of cities around the world.

Now I'm actually in China again. Just for a short while, but it was worth the wait. I'm sure the next time you get to Europe it'll be the same for you!


I hadn't heard about the "Walking in..." videos. Must check it out ;) I have watched some 4K videos on certain regions, countries etc, with mainly (all? - it's been a while) aerial views I believe made with drones. They were quite good for scratching an itch.

Hope you enjoy your stay in China, Axon! Not sure how/when I'll be back in Europe, but I certainly look forward to it! In the meantime there's always language learning and Google Maps to take me there ;)
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Re: Is it just me (who uses Google Maps for armchair travel)?

Postby lichtrausch » Tue May 02, 2023 1:55 am

Count me into this group. I'm also a fan of the walking videos. Drone flyover videos scratch a similar itch for me.

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