Jerusalem vs. Pompeii (in Google Earth)

There are not many computer programs that I am wildly ecstatic about, but Google Earth qualifies even if no others do.  If you haven’t yet downloaded it, I recommend it.

I’ve been doing some reading recently on Pompeii.  I think my fascination with the city may in part be owing to my “discovery” of the site years after I thought I had been to the most important ruins of the Middle East and Mediterranean world.  When I visited, I felt that I had been cheated for years. 

Why had no one sat me down and told me in a most serious tone that I must discard all other travel plans and get myself to Pompeii?  Apparently I do not have friends who love me enough.

Sadly I learned very little from my delay in visiting Pompeii in Real Life, for I have done no better in visiting Pompeii in Google Earth.  I had no idea what a treat was awaiting me.  At least for those used to staring at the fuzzy, low-resolution imagery of Israel, Pompeii is a beautiful contrast.  (To find Pompeii quickly, paste these coordinates in the “Fly To” box: 40.750262°14.486046°).

Here is a comparison, with screenshots taken in Google Earth from the same elevation above the sites.


Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem
pompeii Forum and Temple of Augustus, in Pompeii

I don’t know what it’s going to take before we see high-quality satellite imagery in the Middle East.


2 thoughts on “Jerusalem vs. Pompeii (in Google Earth)

  1. Maybe never. I remember reading a few years ago that Israel was worried that terrorists may be using Google Earth to target homemade missile attacks or plan in-country missions. Not an entirely unreasonable concern.

    Israel may not want hi res maps that easily available.

  2. I love you, Todd.

    And I agree with Al. Freely available, high-res imagery of Israel is a bad idea, and will probably never happen. Have you noticed, though, that the Google Earth people apparently took a lot of time to clean up the colors in their Israel/Jordan/Egypt region. It now looks really nice – like one seamless photo. Compare southern Egypt. Yuck.

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About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.


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