Quick Scouting New Locations:
I recently responded to a Forum where someone was visiting the Florida Gulf coast and they where interested for some ideas where to shoot. So it occurred to me that many people may not know about Google Earth or the new features it offers.
For those who never heard of Google Earth it is a free interactive
satellite mapping software http://earth.google.com/ allowing you to zoom, pan, overlay roads, parks and all sorts of other things anywhere in the world! Wow, this is cool but did you know that a plugin tool named Panoramio which allows users to add their photos as an icon position on the map as well.
I often will zoom into an area first just to see the satellite map of an area's feature. This gives me clues to what I might be able to shoot. But now there are these icons that look as a white circle with a blue stroke and star in the center. Click on that and see views others have shot. It's a great way to scoop out an unknown location.
Of course these views are not very often professional images but it is a great resource. Not only can you see some local images but the Google Map is clear enough and it's easy to determine the direction of the sun.
OK sure this is not the only way to map an unknown area for shooting images but another tool for the gear bag!