This blog covers trips from the book and other favorites. Contact Rob in Seattle: or 206-465-7167


Aerial Photography Sites for Planning Paddling Trips

Whenever I get an idea for a paddling trip, race or finding a new surf spot, I immediately think of the general location, then open Google Earth to start scouting routes, beaches, access points or in the case of racing, figuring out mileage for the race course.

Dept of Ecology - WA Coast
Before Google Earth, I used a Dept of Ecology site called Washington State Coastal Atlas. The site covers all shorelines, saltwater or fresh in the state. With this site, you bring up state image then click on the red dot of the area of interest, then zoom in.  You scroll left to right or vice versa to explore the shoreline. There's four choices of which years of footage you want to view which is great for comparing shoreline change. The years are 1970's, 1990's, 2001 and 2006.  Click here to check it out.

In recent years, I've mostly switched to Google Earth which breaks out of the left right scrolling to pulling or scrolling anywhere you want to go. Google has 'street views' which is seeing the image 1-1 vs from the air.  The only downside is when you zoom all the way in, a forest begins to look fake or photoshopped. Same issue with some street views. Perhaps that's the result of the current technology with pixels being re-created to allow us to scroll any direction up or down, etc. Military locations are shadowed out and some areas which are not sensitive may look cloudy.

Google Earth 5 mile race course (Seattle)
Google Earth does allow you to save a jpg of a place and save that to your page as well. I use the Ruler a lot to determine distance in miles, nautical miles, km, etc. That's all I use it for, I'm sure you can take advantage of more of it's features if needed. When I have a race, I'll save the race course (ruler path showing course route) then open it in Photoshop to lighten it and/or add arrows, text and other directional items.

Sometimes I use both Google Earth and the Dept of Ecology sites. Then checking web cams and local weather stations (NOAA) to get a history of weather in a specific area

Here's a few examples of how I use Google Earth and the Ecology site...

Google Earth with Photoshop directions

Dept of Ecology - WA Coast

Any questions give me a holler: / 206.465.7167
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