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Google Earth Adds High Res Photos of Upper Chilliwack River Area #1809
Back To Discussion List Written: 2007.03.11 by: Vito Gudaitis

Google Earth and Google Maps have added high resolution photos of excellent quality for a large area that is popular with Lower Mainland hikers and climbers. The triangular area covered starts near the US border SE of Cultus Lake, follows the border almost to Ross Lake, and extends north to a point northeast of the Hope Slide.

By using the tilt feature in Google Earth, you can get a good idea of the terrain leading up to a peak, clearly seeing logging roads and logged areas, as well as meadows, talus slopes, etc. This is great for planning approaches to unfamiliar areas. My only complaint is that the elevation software does some averaging over a fairly large area, so that sharp changes in elevation are completely lost. This results in some rather peculiar views: for instance looking at Welch and Foley from a low angle makes them look like they have a lower elevation than the broad southwest ridge of Foley.

The same sort of thing happens to Slesse: it looks nothing like the real thing. What this means practically is that Google Earth will probably mask sharp cliffs that may obstruct your chosen route; however, many cliffs show up by their visual appearance, and you don't necessarily need to see the change in elevation.

Despite its limitations, Google Earth is a very useful tool for planning trips to areas photographed in high resolution; and this coverage has been increasing fairly rapidly.