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A bald head from Thailand

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In a story about historic maps published this week in the New Yorker magazine, William Finnegan writes, "Looking at Old World maps, you can see it happen. Around the turn of the sixteenth century, dragons start to withdraw from the seas west of Europe, and landmasses appear. Continents slowly take on more precise shapes. California is discovered but remains an island, in the European mind, for two hundred years." This week a friend of mine in California took the Kata Beach address of where I am staying in Phuket, Thailand, and located me on Google Earth. Google maps are fact-based, precise, down to my bald head. Precision versus imagination. These two words capture so well the change in real estate over the last decade, thanks to technology. A horde of technology innovations are bringing transparency, clarity and precision to an industry that operated in an old world of imagination, promotion and sales. Like historic maps, the pitch was simple: imagine this place and I can make...