Random Etc. Notes to self. Work, play, and the rest.

Google Earth London Update

Google Earth just updated its imagery, bringing London up to date with 10cm resolution photography from Blue Sky2lmc did the shadow-forensics to date it around February of this year, so it's a crisp winter morning.

One artefact of Google's variable coverage is the patchwork effect their updates have on the world.  The UK has strips of photography from this provider or that provider, but some of the coverage remains plain old 15m landsat.  Ironically some of the low-resolution stuff actually looks the best when viewed at a distance.  The high-resolution stuff has been over-processed and resampled beyond recognition, and that's a real shame.

Greater London is particularly bad at the moment, coming out a muddy brown that looks like the result of aggressive high-pass filtering (useful for making tiling textures in games, and apparently fpr getting aerial photos to stitch together).

Coming in closer you realise the Thames is completely obliterated.

The only reprieve is that close up the detail is fantastic, and these shadows on the Thames are gorgeous, like architectural elevation drawings.  See also the amazing crowds in Trafalgar Square.

Perhaps the resampling system could be tweaked to fix the brown patch though.  I mean, in some ways it reflects reality (London is a horrible confusing mish-mash until you concentrate on one particular area for a while), but in other ways it rather spoils the illusion of a seamless view from space.  Of course there are no seams if everything is one colour!


[...] Mapstration has been making good progress with integration from geopress (awsome plugin for embedding maps in wordpress) to Nestoria (awsome map for finding somewhere to live) (Other sites can be found here). One of the more interesting things to note from mapstractions evolution is the clear but unnoticed disparity in APIs. Microsoft Virtual Earth has by far the best aerial imagery of the UK, they have complete high resolution coverage! See an example here. But the API is perhaps the worst thing on the planet. Little documentation and many ‘basic’ features missing. The good thing for you, of course, is that mapstraction abstracts this all away and you need not worry because we’re spending the time to make it work. A hidden feature of Yahoo Maps is their high res data (see here) for lots of cities. It’s not obvious as they don’t hide good imagery behind brown goo of death. [...]

Posted by OpenGeoData » Blog Archive » Mapstraction progress on 12 October 2006 @ 9am

Tom. Got directed to you when searching stuff on Christopher Alexander, social networks, environment and spacial syntax. (its not all a tree!) Interested in you perspective - on making architects programmers. Something to look at is the similarity between classic architectural programming primers such as Bill Pena’s ‘Problem Seeking’ and recent ICT initiative around enterprise architecture frameworks/SOA and process modelling. Its not just the algorithms its keeping the multiple persepctives in balance and getting the growth sequences right. Good luck with your programming mission.


Posted by Rodd Bond on 25 October 2006 @ 10am