I've discovered Google Earth is a handy tool for doing research. I like to use it when I’m writing about a place I can’t visit. Even when I’ve been to a location, I usually find I need more information when I get into the actual writing, so rather than revisit a place, which is usually impossible, I turn to Google Earth. You can virtually visit nearly any place on the planet without leaving your office chair. You can get the geographic image of a place from space and also zoom right down to travel roads and streets as if you were right there. Just click on the “yellow man” icon and drag him to where you want to be on the map and he’ll put you on the ground. So if you haven't done so already, give it a try the next time you have to travel from home for research. It’s a great feature.
To download, go to: www.earth.google.com