California Imagined is a collection of photorealistic aerial movies created by Dr. William A. Bowen in 2009. It includes a video introduction to the project and nine regional flights that allow viewers to obtain a comprehensive visual sense of every part of the Golden State. You will be transported by a digital “magic carpet” over the landscape at speeds between 4,000 and 8,000 mph (6,437 and 12,874 kilometers per hour) at elevations between 40 kilometers and 80 kilometers (25.8 and 51.6 miles) above the ground. It is not hard to imagine that, given the unusual perspectives, the vastness of the panoramas, and the very real complexities of California’s geography, even the most experienced travelers and earth scientists will frequently become lost.

In order to better understand what is being seen, I have included an unscripted narration. Those who find this disturbing can simply turn off their computer’s sound system and perhaps play their favorite stereo music. I cannot recommend too highly that serious travelers acquire a detailed topographic atlas of the state. My favorite is produced by Allan Cartography and published by Benchmark Maps. Copies of their
California Road & Recreation Atlas may be purchased through local bookstores and Amazon.com.

Remember that the movie downloads can be halted at any time so that viewers can better orient themselves and study the details of individual frames. Also, note that in order to view these movies you will need a computer and a high-speed Internet connection. After all, we are trying to communicate very large digital files.

The original movies were created at full HDTV specifications. Blu-Ray discs (not available for distribution) yield absolutely unbelievable images on large-format HDTV screens. Much is lost in translation to Web transmittable format.

The videos in this collection represent only the latest in a much larger archive of flight movies created by Dr. Bowen during the last fifteen years. If you are interested in flights over Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, more of California, the Himalayas, or the world, you may search this archive at
Flight Movies . A collection of thousands of aerial panoramas covering most of the western United States, the Himalayas, and other parts of the world may be found at the Electronic Map Library. All were produced as part of Dr. William Bowen’s educational mapping program operated by the California Geographical Survey .