The launch of the free Google Earth service in mid-2005 spawned a cottage industry of spotters who now trawl the satellite images looking for oddities.
Spotters poring over satellite images housed on the popular Google Earth service have spied what appears to be two topless sunbathers in the Dutch city of The Hague soaking up the rays.
The pair – one apparently a woman and the other seemingly a man – are sunning themselves on rooftops that are about 1.3km apart.
The woman appears to be lying face down on a rooftop terrace in a residential area not far from the Dutch Parliament.
The man seems to be clad in shorts and can be seen sitting on the roof of a house opposite a canal or river.
Vigilant spotters note that given the lack traffic on the roads, the absence of people on nearby streets and beaches and the angle of shadows, the image was mostly likely taken in the early morning. The leafless trees nearby also suggests that it’s springtime.
The sunbathing woman was first reported on the Google Earth Community forums and then picked up by an independent blog called Google Sightseeing, which collects aerial views of land formations and human activity found on the satellite imagery used on Google Earth and the related Google Maps service.
The man was spotted by a Dutch-based blog called Leursism. The author, having loaded up Google Earth for the first time, did what most first-timers do: he searched for his home. Then he zeroed in on his favourite pub nearby and accidentally came across the figure of a person sunbaking on a roof.
Or is it a person? One of the commenters on Leursism notes that the proportions of the body compared with the area of the roof seemed to suggest otherwise.
"If the area of the rooftop is 20’x18′ (6×5.4 m), the distance between the apparent toes and head looks to be around 9′ (2.75m). The person appears to be sitting down (i.e. they’re not even “fully extended”) If they were lying flat on the roof, this person would be over 9′ (2.75m) tall!"