I do a lot of research before and during the writing of my books and Google Earth is a great aid which allows you to visit parts of the world you may never see in person but can speak about in your tale with the credibility of a native of those parts.
The ever growing jumble of the carcasses of dead trees cast
upon the beaches of French Guiana, and the absence of the locals who
once relied upon them for smokeless firewood to cook with, were discoveries made with the satellite images from Google Earth.
I would add a word of caution only in that the images you see are in no way live, they are at least two years old.
I wrote last year about the small military presence at Cayenne Airport,
the four shacks at the end of the runaway with the paint peeling off
the corrugated tin roof of each one in the sun and the encroaching rust.
The naval detachment had a half dozen Quonset huts and a muddy path
leading down to a wooden pier. All a little forlorn.
Kourou and Cayenne for the next book and I found that much has changed.
There are modern buildings with white, heat reflecting roofing panels
and a secure hard standing for military aircraft at Cayenne, and in
similar fashion the Navy has been upgraded too.
The scene of the
battle between the Chinese marines and the French Foreign Legion jungle
fighters is a jungle no longer but now a car park for European Space
Ah well, I haven't any readership out that way and they are after all mere novels, not travelogs.