Peeking at Rooftops From Your Desktop

I sat outside on the deck tonight, it was humid and it really felt like summer. Sad to think that tomorrow is August and then…well, it’ll all be gone sooner than we think.

I read the WSJ and a story popped out that compelled me to read further. It was about how many businesses are using Google Earth and other satellite photography websites to scope out prospects and even measure roofs.

The Saber Roofing Co., in California, used to drive out, climb a ladder, and measure the prospective roofing jobs with tape measures. But today, they just call up Google Earth and a photo of the roof shows up, along with the tools they need to measure and even judge its condition. It’s a clever way to avoid long drives and climbing, and it’s been accurate up to within 50 feet of scale…enough to deliver an accurate estimate.

Other people are checking out neighborhoods with the biggest lawns, and looking for pools and other investments that might be in need of their services. Landscape designers can make quick plot plans and check out the rest of the neighborhood using sites like and Microsoft’s Live Search.

In the story, one roofing customer was stunned to hear a first-hand report on the condition of her roof while she was still on the phone with the roofer. When he said it was too steep and turned down the job, she said it felt like Big Brother was watching.