The capital of Google Earth

Move over New York, London and Tokyo – the small Canadian city of Nanaimo is vying for the title of world capital… well, of Google Earth anyway.

According to, the 80,000 people of Nanaimo are striving to get as much detail about their town into Google Earth as they possibly can.

Nanaimo’s civic planning department has given Google a heap of information about its buildings, businesses, property lines, utilities and streets, all of which have been mapped and is publicly available through Google Earth and a dedicated city offshoot,

Using, a browser can see every business in the town, the lot size for every property in the city, including the building permit number and zoning history. The degree of graphical detail available is pretty impressive too – the city’s CBD is rendered in 3D and dotted with 360-degree panoramas.

The latest, and possibly most adventurous step Nanaimo has taken in its attempt to become the unofficial Google Earth capital is to Google-enable its fire fighting service, making it possible to see what Nanaimo’s firemen are up to in real time.

“With Nanaimo, they have mapped nearly every conceivable thing using Google Earth and Google Maps,” Michael Jones, Google Earth’s chief technology officer, said last August at a conference in Vancouver, according to Time. “Their citizens have more information about their city than the people of San Francisco.”


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