man-made canyons of the big cities.

Ohazama loves to play with the incredible exploratory capabilities that Google Earth affords. Sometimes he likes to traverse the forbidding Sahara desert or scout for icebergs in the Arctic sea. Many times, however, he uses Google Earth for more practical purposes.

"Let's say I went to a concert and I needed to find parking -- I use Google Earth to find it," he said. "Or I'd find out how the turnoff from the highway works -- if you turn off, does it force you to go right? Is there a median in the road? Can you turn left? Actually seeing the place and virtually driving it before you get there to get a sense of what's going on."

These days, Ohazama continues to enhance Google Earth and implement new tools, such as Google Moon and Google Mars. Should you ever find yourself as an astronaut bouncing around on Mars, you'll be well prepared. As for the future of Google Earth, Ohazama wants to continue blurring the line between the real and the virtual worlds.

"I want to make it as realistic as possible, a digital version of the real Earth. That would be pretty cool to see. Zoom it down anywhere, and it's just like walking through San Francisco or visiting Paris."

Chad Vander Veen  | 

Chad Vander Veen is the former editor of FutureStructure.