The Amazing GOOGLE Earth


It’s a cool thing

I lived in a fairly remote place growing up; Adak Island, in the Aleutian islands, of the coast of Alaska. It’s barely on the maps; since the naval base I lived on closed down in 1998, nobody pretty much gives a damn about the place. When the Japanese held the other end of the Aleutian chain in 1942, and later, during the Cold War (with the Soviet Union next door), Adak was a big thing. Not any more.

With the help of GOOGLE EARTH, the freebie satellite mapping tool from Google, I’ve been revisiting the places of my youth from on high, as it were. Google Earth is not perfect; it couldn’t find Adak using the search routine. So I had to physically scan the islands (and there are a lot of them) until I found the one island I could recognize that wasn’t covered in clouds– Great Sitkin volcano, which last erupted the year I left Adak, back in the 70s. A scroll to the left, a little bit of fiddling, and there it was, where I lived back in my early years. I think there might be a small community of Aleuts living on the big old abandoned air base, but that’s about it. The yellow arrow points to the hill I lived on, but I don’t see my house at this resolution.

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2 responses to “The Amazing GOOGLE Earth

  1. Adak was just in the news this week. I forget the details, but there is a movement afoot to turn this abandon city with a world-class runway over to the Aleuts for economic development.

    The navy just pulled up stakes and left. There is an entire abandon town just sitting there. It was a sizable base, too. Very sizable.

  2. Too, right, mate! It was big when I left; during the 80s Adak received a tremendous amount of infrastructure development. The government put in all sorts of modernities during that time– a McDonalds, a mall (of sorts), a new movie theater, a modern post office, a new water treatment and sewage facility, an upgraded power plant… then it just got cut out of the budget in 98. What a huge waste of money. Adak was a REAL TOWN in every respect; there are now (I think) 74 Aleut families living on a space that was (at one time) designed for 35 thousand people. I was there. I saw it.