May 6, 2009 — -- The weird wonders of Google Earth just keep on coming.
A few weeks ago, ABCNews.com went to the ends of Google Earth (and Google Maps, too) to explore some of the most interesting images left behind by pranksters, artists, Mother Nature and everyday people.
Some of the discoveries are real, others seem more like wishful thinking. Regardless, millions of Google Earth prospectors mine reams of satellite and aerial images to find the best ones.
The latest discovery is an image of a British man who was spotted walking his 10-foot red-tailed boa in his neighborhood on Google Street View.
Kidd, who owns five snakes, told the Telegraph that walking his boa is regular activity.
"I take her out nearly every day in summer in Earlham Park," he said. "A lot of people are surprised, others are curious and ask if they can touch her. She loves being taken out, especially going in the grass."
"I didn't even notice I was being photographed by the Google car," he said. "Then about three weeks ago my cousin phoned me and said I was in the newspaper."
"The thing about Google Earth is that it's a mirror world on the real world. It puts the whole world at your fingertips," said Frank Taylor, an entrepreneur who launched the popular Google Earth Blog in 2005. "You can be someone who sits at home and goes and explores the entire planet. And I think that has a lot of appeal to a lot of people."
Judging by the number of people who read his blog (about 6 million last year) and are registered users of the Google Earth Community forum (at least 1 million), it seems that Google's revolutionary mapping tool has indeed captured the imaginations of people from all over the world.
A whole community of Google Earth explorers and bloggers catalogs the latest virtual places of interest, from heart-shaped lakes and capsized cruise ships to unusual-looking houses and buried treasure.
"Places like Japan and Australia -- the chances of ever getting there are slim to none," said James Turnbull, who co-authors another popular blog, Google Sightseeing, from Oxford, England. "Everyone likes to explore the world. It's like exploring without going out of your house."
With his brother, Alex Turnbull, he launched the blog soon after Google Earth launched in 2005. Now, about 410,000 unique visitors check out the site each month for clues about the many curiosities that now populate Google Earth.
Here are more of our favorites.