Using Google Street View for Feng Shui Purposes
For many years now I have used Google Earth aerial views to determine remotely the compass reading for a property. Google Earth shows true north at the top edge of their photos, but then notes the longitude and latitude coordinates at the bottom of the page. With that information, I would go to the National Geophysical Data Center website to figure out the magnetic declination for the area being viewed.
The aerial photos provide insight into things a consultant may not even be aware of when doing an in-person evaluation, such a noting which neighbors have a pool that could be affecting another property, as a large body of water.
More recently, using Google Compass, the work is done for you if you follow the clicks all the way to the end and you can see on one final page the comparison between True North and magnetic North, which they refer to as the “compass bearing.” In a classical Feng Shui analysis, using a compass is paramount for a proper reading. “The compass is to the geomancer what a telescope is to an astronomer,” to quote Feng Shui historian, practitioner and author Stephen Skinner.
As much as I appreciate these aerial photos, something was still missing and Google Street View has been yet another great application, to fill in the missing pieces, when doing remote analysis. Google Street View captures the scene at street level and you can move the view around to see the property in question, up and down the street and the land across the street.
This is an important feature in a Feng Shui analysis. For example, some houses benefit from having higher land level on their facing side. If there is a slope upwards, a real mountain, or even a neighbor’s stone wall across the street, these are natural influences which can affect the health and well-being of the occupants. What is not always evident or easy to see from aerial photos can be corroborated with Google Street View, such as the height or density of trees, hedges and other landscaping elements nearby. The natural surroundings near a house or building can play an important role in manipulating or shoring up the air currents.
Man-made features, can also be evaluated such as a roof line pointing toward a property or statuary and things of the like which cannot be easily identified from just an aerial perspective.
There is also something to be said for visual “sha.” The word “sha” refers to something objectionable, ugly, draining, or a condition which could undermine the health or mental outlook of a person. With Google Street View, you can sometimes clearly see the condition of a house and if there is any dilapidation to the structure, what exterior colors are being used, and all visuals at ground level and closer range than what the aerial photos provide. As another example, from just aerial photos alone, it is not always evident how many stories a building or house is, but this is clearly shown with Google Street View. There is always a relationship between structures and their comparative height matters.
These are essential tools for a feng shui practitioner, offering advice remotely. A person may take their own pictures of course and provide them to a consultant. But for a variety of reasons, the Google Street View can give instantaneous information, especially if a prospective buyer or renter is not near the property either, to be the eyes for the long distance Feng Shui consultant.
The Street View image also helps locate the exact address of a property when the Google Earth pin just lands in the center of the street.