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Homebuyers visit cities via computer


People considering the purchase of a home in a distant locale now have an assortment of visual aids available to assist in the home-search process, via new computer software programs.

One program allows prospective homebuyers to view their new community from an altitude of about eight miles. What they see on their computer screen are actual full-color aerial photographs.

The photos are calibrated to city maps, which can be viewed simultaneously, and can be adjusted for a closer look. Viewing through a "looking glass" tool, viewers can even navigate the city streets below, and mark progress with a ruler.

The same CD-ROM program, "Small Blue Planet, the Real Picture Atlas," also produces historical information on the targeted cities. The information spans the original settlement through subsequent development of towns, villages, cities and urban areas, to a profile of current culture, environment and population. The program is offered by Now What Software, 2303 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA, 94115, for $49.95. It's distributed by Cambrix Publishing Inc., based in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Another CD-ROM, "Street Atlas USA," includes maps showing every street in the country, according to the company. It's produced by DeLorme Mapping, P.O. Box 298, Freeport, ME 04032. The price is $79.

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