Of Interest: Maps Aren't Easy, Weird Terrain

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O’Reilly Radar has a short interview by Jenn Webb with Pete Warden, founder of OpenHeatMap.  Called “Maps aren’t easy“, the piece looks at why a news organization like the New York Times has four cartographers on staff and the labor-intensive process of making maps.  Webb points to an article on Poynter that looks at the value added of maps in journalism:

Google’s Sean Carlson says he’s seen a steady flow of news organizations using Google Maps and Google Earth to help illustrate recent international stories. He looks at these tools as “helicopters in the hands of news organizations” — ways to provide readers with a perspective they might not otherwise get from text or photos.

The aerial imagery in Google Earth isn’t always orthorectified properly, as Celement Valla has shown through a collection of imagery highlighting where the terrain has become warped.  The collection of bridge images shows the structures at impossible angles, barreling down instead of up.  Valla explains:

“The images are screenshots from Google Earth with basic color adjustment. They are glitches that occur when the 2d satellite imagery and 3d terrain don’t line up quite right, or structures such as bridges get projected down onto the terrain below, creating fabulous and unintentional distortions. These images are like funhouse mirrors – strange illusions and reflections of the real”

(Via The Map Room)

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