Aerial Photographs Show How Humans Alter Natural Landscapes

s03_00000025 “Circular layouts of homes near I-75, southwest of Fort Myers, Florida. Map. (© Google)”s19_00000002
“Canals and homes in Charlotte Park, south of Port Charlotte, Florida. MapStreet View.(© Google)s01_00000022“A section of a partially built residential project with only two houses in place, near Fort Myers, Florida. Map. (© Google)”s07_00000027“A densely built gated community in Bonita Springs, Florida. MapStreet View. (© Google)”

In reaction to a story by NPR’s Planet Money team about the financial collapse and its effect on Southwest Florida housing market, the The Big Picture photography column at spent some time scouring Google Earth to document exactly how man-made structures and development planning has altered the land, coast and the way we cover that natural beauty we desire so much.

The resulting pictures show, in stunning simplicity, just how alien the natural landscape of Florida (or most of the Earth for that matter) has become. Ranging from densely-packed communities to barely finishing plotting, the photographs show the natural beauty of the land being lost, and mostly replaced by poorly-planned, short-term solution living situations. They also simultaneously insinuate humanity conquering nature like a plague of locusts, as well as demonstrate our efforts being over-run by nature, like every civilization of the past. (via

s25_00000038“Canals and homes near Big Marco River on Marco Island, Florida. Map, Street View. (© Google/USGS)”s02_00000024 A strip of houses in a neighborhood southeast of Fort Myers, Florida. MapStreet View. (© Google)s04_00000037 “Once proposed as the 57,000 acre “Golden Gate Estates”, this area was to be the largest subdivision in America in the 1960s. Many canals and roads were built, but the development eventually went bankrupt. Over the past 20 years or so, the land has been acquired by the state, and converted into the Picayune Strand State ForestMapStreet View. (© Google/USGS)”s05_00000018 “Boats make their way through canal structures in a neighborhood north of Cape Coral, Florida. MapStreet View. (© Google)”s21_00000034“Part of Verona Walk, a gated community in Naples, Florida. Map. (© Google)”s06_00000013The Rotonda West neighborhood, originally developed in the 1960s, never quite fully completed, located in Charlotte County, Florida.  MapStreet View. (© Google/Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO)”

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  • Brian In AK

    Interesting these are all from Florida.

  • There is also this brazilian photographer, Cásiso Vasconcellos with a lot of aerial photographies showing the human interference in the landscape. BTW, he has an ebook showing the the human interference in one of the most important brazilian rivers:

    He’s the guy that shot that aerial photo from New York that was used in Inception movie poster, you know?

  • This one