Thursday, April 14

Wired News: Surprises Lurk in Satellite Snaps

This is really cool. First of all, just the fact that Google has added satellite images to its spectacular mapping service. This really helps to see how the terrain actually looks when charting directions to a new destination, and it's much better than attempting to interpret Mapquest's decision that one particular turn should be called a "slight right."

However, the thrust of this article from Wired is in the unexpected discoveries people are making in the satellite images. One searcher found a picture of the area in which the makeshift town for Burning Man is constructed, showing a skeletal outline of its not-currently active streets. Also, there are pictures of sports arenas, and even historical images taken by satellite including one of a firefight in Najaf in 2003 and an early glimpse of last year's devastating tsunami.

I've even found an aerial picture of my apartment building. And my parents' house, and the house I lived in when I was a kid. In fact, many people have taken screenshots of Google's image of their hometown, annotated them with favorite hangouts, friends' houses, etc., and posted them on the Internet social photo-sharing site Flickr.

Google maps is now much more than a map. Its satellite images make it an interactive reminiscence tool.

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.