See the world as it happens

EarthCam has a network of cameras all over the world that can be watched 24/7. (Courtesy of EarthCam)

Lacey Mason,

WASHINGTON – As I write this, I’m sitting in the WTOP offices.

But I’m also watching a woman carrying a big red bag get her photo taken at 47th and Broadway in Times Square.

She doesn’t know I’m watching her from the little camera tucked away near a sign with twinkling red and yellow lights.

Creepy? Nah, it’s fascinating, and the 47th and Broadway camera is one of several in Times Square. It’s also part of a worldwide network of cameras seen by people in 192 countries.

Started in 1996, EarthCam became famous for its Times Square cameras, but continued to grow its audience with a webcam network that provides views at Abbey Road Crossing in London and various sites in New York City and Hollywood. Cameras in exotic locales and zoos have been added to EarthCam’s collection, and the site eventually earned a “Webby” – the Internet’s version of an Emmy.

If you’re looking for something cute, one of the most popular cameras EarthCam recommends is none other than the National Zoo’s Pandacam.

And, keeping with the animal theme, check out the Peregrine Falcon Cam. (They’re so ugly, they’re cute).

Click here to see all the animal cams available. There’s everything from honey bees and giraffes to puppies and bearded dragons.

A great category: Weird & Bizarre. Some of the cameras in the section even get microscopic.

Some of the cameras that earned EarthCam the illustrious award of being ranked “among the top 1 percent of all websites” – according to EarthCam – are the ones that gave people around the world the ability to watch the new World Trade Center being built after 9/11.

Check out the live cams outside 1 WTC or watch this 10-year time-lapse video of Ground Zero from cleanup and mourning to rebuilding and remembrance. Warning: It’s pretty moving.

Though the videos on EarthCam aren’t embeddable, the site offers great links to share with friends and even an EarthCam for Kids.

And, hey, if you’re planning on being in Times Square sometime soon:

Follow @LaceyWTOP and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.) .

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