Top of the Morning, March 24, 2014: From the archives

Mike Hopkins has the best aerial photo of Champaign-Urbana, but he had an advantage very few others do — he was shooting from the International Space Station.

A few years ago, when Google unveiled higher-resolution satellite imagery in its maps, it was kind of stunning to look at my car in the driveway from miles above the planet.

How many of you saw the photo posted by Hopkins — UI grad and astronaut — on Twitter and tried to find your house? 

In case you missed it, here's his tweet:

Even much closer to the earth, there's something about aerial views of places we know that seems to draw some of us in. It's part map, part puzzle: You get your orientation and then spot landmarks and go from there.

Google and astronauts notwithstanding, it's still pretty rare to get up above the roofs.

That's what today's gallery from our archives does.

Over the years, News-Gazette photographers have documented places and things both general and specific from the air. Even when the photo is of a particular place, though, what appears in the rest of the photo can be just as interesting.

Take the photo from Feb. 19, 1965, of the University of Illinois Division of Rehabilitation building on Oak Street on the UI campus. In the background is Neil Street, including buildings and businesses that are now gone or changed.

Or the photo of Interstate 72 coming into town, showing vacant land bounded by Mattis Avenue, Country Fair Drive, University Avenue and Church Street.

Or the photo of downtown Urbana, with no city parking garage and an Eisner in the Lincoln Square parking lot.

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