Simon Kewin who you might recognize from around the blogosphere. To show your appreciation of the fabulous tip he's sent in (and it is fabulous), please visit his blog and website on your way out!
"Recently, I needed to take a walk down a certain road in Manchester (in the UK) for a scene in an urban fantasy novel I've been writing. It was a road I walked along often a number of years ago, but the problem was that I now live a hundred and fifty miles away. I could remember the sights and sounds of the street well enough, but I needed to check on a detail of the road's layout as it was significant to my plot. But conventional maps and satellite photographs didn't give me the three-dimensional, street-level perspective I needed.
"Then I remembered Google Street View. As you may know, Google are in the process of photographing streets and roads the world over, stitching the pictures together so that you can visually "move" along them. Privacy concerns aside, this can be an invaluable resource for the writer. A series of pictures will never give you the sounds and smells of a particular place, but they can help trigger memories and they can help confirm that this or that road or building are as you recall them. Using Street View I found I was able to check on my facts without having to undertake a 300 mile round-trip."
This is such a great tip, Simon. And it ties in pretty darn good with Ann's tip from last week. Just like I never thought to peruse travel blogs for research information, I never thought to "travel" there via Google Street View. Amazing! I'll definitely be peeping in on some streets in the near future.