Sandy Missed My House

It was amazing to sit on the sofa on October 30th, watching the weather reports on TV and following the storm on the internet with Wundermaps, as it astonishingly went right around my house in Beacon NY. Tragic consequences in the New York boroughs, and especially New Jersey. An article in the Architectural Record interviews participants in the precient MOMA exhibition two years ago, Rising Currents, about ideas which might be revisited in the wake of the storm. The weight of the evidence, however, seems to be in favor of barriers. Expect to see some experienced Dutch engineers migrating to NYC.

TeleGeography Tells a Story

An interactive map of Submarine cables by Telegeography lets you explore the huge underwater infrastructure of communication cables. The first transatlantic cable laid in in 1858, and the rest is Wikipedia history. We tend to think ofsatellites and wireless communication as being dominant, but actually 99% of global Internet traffic depends on submarine cables. Telegeography made this maps by drawing routes and points with Adobe Illustrator, importing into Avenza’s MapPublisher, exporting to KML, creating Google Fusion tables, and publishing using the GoogleMaps API. (Here is their helpful explanation.)
Interactivity allows you to select and isolate cities, or cable systems to get more details. For example, this images shows the Atlantic Crossingcable which connects Beverwijk and Brooklyn. And this is the famous (and longest at 39,000 kms) system, the SeaMeWe system.

The Ring of Fire

The website Our Amazing Planet, pointed out a beautiful map depicting earthquakes since 1989 around the world, using intensities of color to indicated the frequency. The map’s creator is John Nelson of Michigan-based IDV Solutions, a data visualization company which provides products and solutions including Visual Fusion.

Ends of the Earth at MOCA

The current exhibition at MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Ends of the Earth, Land Art to 1974, includes an interactive Google map which geo-locates the various works of some of the artists represented and documented at the exhibition. Over eighty artists and projects from United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, Iceland, Eastern and Northern Europe, as well as North and South Americas are included in the show. Clicking on an artist’s name zooms to the location and a pop-up window describes the work of art… like this one by Joseph Bueys in a Scottish moor in 1970.

Update 8/1/2019: The MOCA site no longer has the map, but here it is on Google Earth – however it appears you must view this with Chrome. Link to Landart in Google Maps.

Pixel Mania

Reminded by Google Maps Mania about this remarkable and entertaining website created in 2009 by Australia firm, Pixelcase. I saw it then, but it seems they have added a lot of new tours, and some new, cool controls, including the ability to view images in Normal, Fish-eye, Architectural, Stereographic and Planet views. It is great to see the images in all these different perspectives, clear as a bell. Check out this image of Central Park in Stereographic. Is that the sun?

Update 8/1/2019: It seems that in 10 years, the aerial tour is no longer available, and Pixelcase has morphed into an Augmented Realty (AR) company.  More on this some other time.

Biking in L.A.

Want to save time in L.A.? Ride from Griffith Point Observatory to Venice Beach in about an hour and a half. Or take the bus and get there in two hours, according to Google Maps bike directions. Seems to be considerable progress in Los Angeles, with the 2010 Bike Plan being rolled out and more routes added monthly. The LA DOT Bike Blog tells the story, at least the DOT version.

Africa – Bigger Than You Think

Just came across a graphic produced in November 2010 by Kai Krause which shows Africa swallowing up many countries and even continents which we typically think of as larger, including the US, China, and Europe. Mr. Krause points out that the great misconception has been propogated by the standard use of the Mercator Projection which was created by Mercator in 1569 to represent the world in such a way as to keep make it easier to navigate from one place to another because it flattens the earth and turns it into a rectangle. Therefore the areas of countries closer to the poles are exaggerated, while those closer to the equator are understated.
As was pointed out by The Economist, the actual graphic used by Mr. Krause is not a perfect representation of the proportions. For a more accurate representation, the writer used the Gall’s Stereographic projection (which I used to use at Johnson Controls!) which is an “equal area” projection designed to keep countries areas in proportion. The conclusion is the same, maybe a little less dramatic, but another nice graphic.

Cultural Heritage on a Map

The firm AB-C Media, based in Utrecht, works with Museums, Archives, and Cities to make their collections available to the public through interactive databases and map applications. A showcase of the possibilities can be seen with the richly detailed and interactive Amersfoort Map – Amersfoort op de Kaart In addition to Art Work, national and local monuments and archeology, the map has a number of prepared Walking Routes, like the one pictured left. From the detailed information windows, users can also leave comments, or look at the featured item in Google streetview. For Amerersfoort and other projects, the collection can also be viewed on a mobile application, All in all, a beautifully conceived site!

360 Panoramas on a Map

360Cities describes itself as “the web’s largest collection of stunning, geo-mapped panoramic photos, created by a network of thousands of expert panorama photographers from around the world.” The photos are all visible on their own website via a Google Map, and since November 2010 approved exterior photos have been included as a photo layer on Google Earth. This is fascinating concept which could also be applied on a local (neighborhood) level to create a nice 3-D tour.

Nederland van Boven

Starting December 6th, this 10-week series will be shown on VPRO. The website has many great links as well. I’ll be watching and recording. Back in December last year, the announced topics were:
6 december 2011: 24 uur Nederland
13 december 2011: Vrije tijd
20 december 2011: Natuur
27 december 2011: Boer
3 januari 2012: Stad
10 januari 2012: Veiligheid

17 januari 2012: Water
24 januari 2012: Rotterdam
31 januari 2012: Onder de grond
7 februari 2012: Luchtruim

Left: Eric van Heeswijk and Jasper Koning on Holland from Above / PICNIC Festival 2011from PICNIC on Vimeo.