Topography

In addition to the forest, the property has very interesting topography, and it was this combination that sold me instantly. As a bonus, the western border faces a sprawling wetland, which means it will never be touched. This is the direction the house faces, offering a woodland vista that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Ground-level photographs can capture some of the land's contours, but they still don't fully impart the dramatic sense of depth. One almost feels as though the land embraces the house in an enormous cupped hand—which is just how I've always dreamt my home might be.

Completed in January 2015, the topographic survey offers the most detailed portrait of the various landforms; the house and guest cabin are shown in context, along with the three ravines, at the bottom of which are the wetlands.

Satellite views aren't very informative about the terrain, but interesting nevertheless. Based on the construction progress, weather conditions, shadows and other details, it appears Google's view, below left, was taken around 10 AM, 16 April 2016. Compare it to Bing's shot, below right, which looks to have been taken about a year later, sometime in April 2017. Click them for annotated enlargements.

I'd been told by a neighbor the highest point in Burlington County is on my property, right where I'd built the treehouse. After doing some research, I've found that the highest point in the county is actually Arneys Mount in Arneys Mount, NJ. At 240+ feet, it's roughly 40 feet higher, although mine is almost certainly the highest point in North Hanover Township. On the topo map below, my house is indicated by the red crosshairs; the high point is the small X just above and to the left.

New for 2020

The driveway, which is 0.6 miles long, was added to Google Maps. My property is the trapezoid at the top left corner. On Bing's version, the driveway ends at the sharp bend, left of center—which, by the way, is where it should end on Google maps: up to that point, it is a general access easement; beyond that bend, it becomes my exclusive driveway, and as it appears on Google, it represents an invasion into my private space.

New satellite images from both Google and Bing are much higher resolution. Bing's image shows just how dense the trees are over the house. The bright white blob is the camping trailer, which had been moved from the side yard to the driveway beside the garage on 9 June 2020, which means the new shot was either taken shortly after the camper was moved, or a year later. Based on the direction of the highlights on the trees, it was taken in the morning.

Google has a wintertime view, allowing you to see all of the features on the property. Based on the direction of the tree shadows, it was taken in the afternoon in early 2021.

And here's the image with the topographic survey superimposed.

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