Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: Perspective from above
I have been using Google Earth on my computer to look at satellite images, which is sort of like saying that your pet monkey has finally stopped eating chess pieces and may soon learn the game. I fumble around a computer with the limited dexterity of a person who learned a technical skill as an adult. My grandfather learned to drive a car in 1916 when he was 44 years old. One of his first attempts at driving had him encountering a beer wagon turning on to Center Street in Casper which caused him to grab the wrong lever. That lever is no longer used on vehicles but it increased the car’s speed resulting in an embarrassing crash into a store window. The good news was he didn’t hit the team pulling the wagon and only had to pay for a large piece of glass. At least with home computers one can make many mistakes without anyone noticing.
Google Earth has been around for quite a while. When I first tried to use Google Earth the wait to download images was hardly worth it. Now with a much faster computer and higher resolution images I can see things quick enough to be close to my attention span. The other day, as I was dashing about in cyber space, I decided to look around my ranch – so to speak. I had to follow roads and creeks along to find things because looking straight down from a great height is a fairly unusual point of view for me. It struck me that if I could mark places on the ranch then I could use these reference points to speed up finding what else I wanted to see. After finding out how to do this, I was busy sticking yellow digital thumb tacks at water wells and identifying other ranch landmarks. Then I noticed that I could see a pickup truck driving down a two track road. I got out my daily journal and looked up what I was doing on the day the satellite took the last images. Yep that was my truck.
Feeling more confident I decided to try the Flight Simulator feature on Google Earth. Now I could pretend to fly an airplane around the ranch. As I was maneuvering along I glanced down and there was a pickup truck with a camper shell parked along a fence. Now I felt like I was flying my very own drone without any missiles to shoot. I zoomed in on the truck and saw that it was painted purple. Then I remembered that a bow hunter drove a truck like this one. I flew on to the nearest well and there was a blind set up. Technology is great, just one year later, you can discover what was going on at your ranch.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the Oct. 23, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News