A Portland Google Earth Companion
Saturday 12 March 2016 — Category: Outings
If you have browsed through very many of the more than 6,000 photos presented on this Web site, you already know that I like to provide detailed captions for each picture. For example, if I take a photo of a bridge in Portland, I don’t want to merely write “this is one of the twelve bridges across the Willamette River in Portland.” No, for my sake as well as that of my readers, I want to document exactly which bridge it is, and include a link to more information on Wikipedia or some other Web site.
When I go on an outing and come back with hundreds of pictures, it can take a lot of time and effort to identify the exact location where each one was taken, and the objects visible therein — especially if I am editing and posting the photos months after they were taken. Because my camera does not have GPS capabilities for geotagging, I must figure all of this out manually. One of my most valuable tools for this kind of investigation is Google Earth.
This amazing, science-fiction-like software has saved my bacon many a time by helping me identify objects and locations in my photos. But it wasn’t until I had used it for some time that I finally realized I could mark these locations and objects on the map, and then save that information in a separate file for sharing. It was about two years ago that I created my first such file for photo outings all over Oregon. A year later I made available an updated version.
When I started my frenzy of Portland outings in 2015, I realized that it would not work well to add all those locations to my Oregon Outings Map, especially since all of the Portland outings would be located in a very small area compared to the rest of the state. So I decided to create a new Portland Outings Google Earth Map, as I mentioned in Downtown Portland’s Unnatural Beauty. At that time I wrote:
It took me an entire day to research the buildings and locations I had photographed, in order to provide accurate and informative captions for each picture. Rather than letting all that effort go to waste, I marked each location in Google Earth, so I would have that information for future reference. Even better, I linked each location to its relevant article on Wikipedia, or another Web page if a Wikipedia article was lacking. I also marked the path I took during my five-mile April walk.Over the past year my Portland Outings Map has greatly expanded! As you can see from the Google Earth screen shot to the right, I now have so many entries that I have grouped them into folders, based upon geography and/or theme. Not only have I marked nearly every building I have photographed, but I have also marked particular restaurants and specialty-food markets, major public transportation centers, certain parks, and more. In addition, I have created paths for most of the hikes I have taken in Portland — as well as future pub crawls — showing the exact routes and their lengths.
Even better, I have saved the locations to a Google Earth .kmz file and am sharing it on this Web site so that anyone can download it. Once opened in Google Earth on your device, you can virtually examine nearly 50 wonderful buildings and locations in Portland. Hint: be sure to enable the 3D Buildings option. You can download this Google Earth file by clicking here.
Almost every one of the 237 (and counting!) entries on the map include a link to a Web site with more information about that item — on Wikipedia, some other Web site, or one of my articles related to that object, location or path. And with each new article about a Portland outing I went on, and with each new album of photos taken in Portland, I add new markers to the Google Earth map and upload the latest version to this Web site. Therefore, even if you have downloaded this file in the past, you will want to do so again every once in a while so that you have the most up-to-date version.
This Google Earth map is a tremendous help to me, because it allows me to keep track of where I have gone on outings around Portland, and to easily see the names of objects and locations I have already researched. If there is one thing I hate, it is wasting time and energy reinventing the wheel! I also like having the links to more information about that item right there at my fingertips in Google Earth. I hope that you will find it invaluable as well — whether you are exploring Portland physically, or exploring it virtually from anywhere in the world.