Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The March of Progress, Google Maps Style

A wee while ago, I was arranging to meet up with a friend for a chat. We wondered where would be convenient to meet, and Costa at Holywood Exchange was suggested. Not knowing there was a Costa at Holywood Exchange (beside Ikea in Belfast), I took to technology to discover where it was. Google Maps is always my friend, and especially their amazing Streetview function. You get to see what places look like before you go there, so you know what to look out for, or which lane to be in.

While perusing Streetview on Google Maps, I discovered that their images, built up over several years have provided a glimpse into the development of the Holywood Exchange retail park, and the building of the Costa coffee shop. Three images, side by side, on one roundabout show the absence, construction, and finished article.

Here's the first, from May 2010.
The site is just waste ground, with the hint of what may be coming, the fence securing the site.

Fast forward to June 2012.
The steelwork of the building is now in place, but there's no hint of any coffee aroma yet - apart from the workmens' flasks.

Finally, we have the most recent image, from April 2015.
Costa is open for business, the building complete and full of customers.

Now, it may well be that I'm the only person on the planet who thinks this is interesting or amazing. I'm fully prepared for that! But isn't technology amazing, to show how one little site in the corner of a carpark has been developed, coming along in stages, progress being made, and only really properly seen in hindsight.

That's one of the reasons I (try to) keep a journal. Little markers along the way, charting moments of growth and progress, giving me the opportunity to look back, to see where I've come from, to celebrate what God is doing. The wasteland is showing signs of life. A new building is emerging - not a coffee emporium, but the temple of the living God as we living stones are built together. That's much more exciting than an espresso or a latte.

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