Map/Satellite Imagery No Substitute For Being On the Ground

In analyzing the urban transformation of Miami, using tools such as Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth, and Google Maps/StreetView is extremely useful. However, when making final determinations, there is no substitute for surveying the reality on the ground–venturing out into the city, street by street. To illustrate this further, let’s take a look at these images:

A. GOOGLE MAPS (Satellite View): No Activity on Nordica Site

B. VIRTUAL EARTH (Birds-Eye View): Nordica Under Construction

C. On the Ground View: Nordica Topped off

Virtual Earth definitely has more updated satellite images. The more user-friendly Google Maps has satellite imagery that is pretty outdated–although Street View is recently updated. There is no doubt that both offer great tools for analyzing urban development patterns, but if you aren’t on the ground, you don’t know smack.


Filed under Maps and Illustrations, Urban Tech

3 responses to “Map/Satellite Imagery No Substitute For Being On the Ground

  1. This site has a large selection of interesting StreetView finds:

  2. Juan Ortega


    I completely agree with this post…

    When I first got into the real estate industry, I always wondered why everyone in acquisitions would drive around the entire city looking for sites to buy when mapping tools are readily available.

    After spending considerable time in a commercial real estate firm, I’ve realized that you have to “feel” an area in order to get a true sense of what’s going on. Mapping software can’t do that for you, it’s just a simple tool. The real work involves becoming intimate with the neighborhoods.

    Keep up the outstanding work.


  3. Thanks for the comp J. The problem with hitting the streets is the time consuming aspect, but when it comes down to it, you’re right, fancy visual mapping tools aren’t going to give you the “feel” for the subject neighborhood.
    Ultimately, most of what one needs to know is on the ground, although Google Street View is a marked advancement in this respect. It’s still not good enough.

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