(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Google Maps

“Geography is just physics slowed down, with a couple of trees stuck in it”*…

 

From Google Maps, an altogether-engrossing geographical trivia game: Smarty Pins.

* Terry Pratchett

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As we find our bearings, we might spare a thought for Florence Nightingale; she died on this date in 1910. Famed for her work as a nurse in the Crimean War, she went on to found training facilities and nursing homes– pioneering both medical training for women and what is now known as Social Entrepreneuring.  Less well-known are Nightingale’s contributions to epidemiology, statistics, and the visual communication of data in the field of public health. Always good at math, she pioneered the use of the polar area chart (the equivalent to a modern circular histogram or rose diagram) and popularized the pie chart (which had been developed in 1801 by William Playfair).

Nightingale’s “Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East”

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Written by LW

August 13, 2014 at 1:01 am

“There is nothing permanent except change”*…

 

Your correspondent is off for his annual retreat to the family seat, and a chance to compete in “the Talladega 500 of eating contests,” the Pawleys Island Marathon Meat Meet (your correspondent’s category: free-style).  Regular (Roughly) Daily service should resume on or around August 11.

Meantime, to keep readers amused, a pair of tools that enable armchair travel– through time as well as space.  Y’all be good!

 

315 Bowery in lower Manhattan: once the omphalos of Punk and New Wave, now a John Varvatos boutique…

From Brian Foo at the New York Public Library Labs…

As a web developer who works on a screen and an illustrator that works on paper, I have always admired those who could paint big—often on impossibly large and inconveniently placed walls—only to be erased in a matter of weeks or days. The ephemeral nature of street art is what makes it simultaneously appealing and frustrating as a viewer. However, Google Maps recently rolled out a feature allowing users to go back in time on its Street View. I immediately thought to check out the well-known wall on Bowery & Houston and found that Google captured the painted wall dating back to 2007. Here’s a sampling from 2007 to present. I added a few images of the wall that I found while perusing the web to fill in some of the gap years that Google didn’t capture.

Foo developed two tools, both available openly on the NYPL site:  the first corrects and aligns the perspectives of the different angles in street-view photos over time.  The second, the one used on the photo of the late-lamented CBGG at the top of this post, allows one to layer views from different times by “painting” one view onto another.  Try them out (and see more of his examples) at “Peeling Off The Painted Layers of NYC Walls: Experiments With The Google Street View Archive.”

* Heraclitus

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As we check the tags, we might send insightful birthday greetings to Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville, born on this date in 1805.  After a trip to the U.S. to study its penal system, de Tocqueville, whose observations had, happily, ranged much more broadly, published De la Démocratie en Amérique (Democracy in America), a pioneering work of (the not-yet-named fields of) sociology and political science– one still powerfully relevant to those concerned to understand the United States.

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“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road”*…

 

On the Road, the iconic Jack Kerouac novel that took its earliest form in words typed on a 120-foot roll of paper, has spawned a uniquely digital descendant. A German student named Gregor Weichbrodt fed all the geographical markers mentioned in the globe-spanning book into the Google Maps Direction Service API, producing a set of all-text driving directions that goes on for 45 digital pages.

Yes, driving directions: On the Road for 17,527 Miles (the figure is Google Maps’ calculation of the journey) is available as a free ebook here, or you can buy a physical copy via Lulu — although it makes for pretty dry reading. Sample passage: “Head northwest on W 47th St toward 7th Ave. Take the 1st left onto 7th Ave. Turn right onto W 39th St.” And so on.

Open Culture helpfully notes that Kerouac himself produced a hand-drawn map of the hitchhiking route he followed in his own cross-country journey, some years before he wrote the ultimate road-trip story. If you’ve read the book and just want the directions, you can find them right here.

From Rob Walker at Yahoo Tech.

* Jack Kerouac

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As we hit the highway, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that E.M. Forster, then 41, set set on his second trip to India… a trip his observations from which formed the basis for his fifth and most critically-acclaimed novel, A Passage to India.

E. M. Forster, by Dora Carrington

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Written by LW

March 1, 2014 at 1:01 am

Making a (civil) right(s) turn…

Google Maps Gains “Avoid Arizona” Option

by Danny Sullivan on April 27, 2010

Headed cross-country and worried about a new law that might get you stopped by the police in Arizona because you look like an illegal immigrant? Not to fear! Google has now added an “Avoid Arizona” option for those generating directions.

Google’s other options have been super helpful. You can get directions suited for taking public transit, walking, bicycling or by car. Now the Avoid Arizona option gives you directions that route you around that state:

Yeah, the option’s a joke I made up, if that’s not obvious, the law, unfortunately, is real.

As we think twice about routing, we might recall that it was on this date in 1920 that the first game of the Negro National League (baseball) was played in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Rube Foster
Pitcher/Manager/Team Owner, and “father” of the League

Written by LW

May 2, 2010 at 12:01 am

51 areas, but not Area 51….

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From the folks at Focus Research, a list of “51 Things You Aren’t Allowed to See on Google Maps“:

…for all of the places that Google Maps allows you to see, there are plenty of places that are off-limits. Whether it’s due to government restrictions, personal-privacy lawsuits or mistakes, Google Maps has slapped a “Prohibited” sign on the following 51 places.

1. The White House: Google Maps’ images of the White House show a digitally erased version of the roof in order to obscure the air-defense and security assets that are in place.
2. The U.S. Capitol: The U.S. Capitol has been fuzzy ever since Google Maps launched. Current versions of Google Maps and Google Earth show these sites uncensored, though with old pictures.
3. Dick Cheney’s [now Joe Biden’s] House: The Vice President’s digs at Number One Observatory Circle are obscured through pixelation in Google Earth and Google Maps at the behest of the U.S. government. However, high-resolution photos and aerial surveys of the property are readily available on other Web sites.
4. Soesterberg Air Base, in the Netherlands: This Dutch air-force base and former F-15 base for the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War can’t be seen via Google Maps.
5. PAVE PAWS in Cape Cod, Mass.: PAVE PAWS is the U.S. Air Force Space Command’s radar system for missile warning and space surveillance. There are two other installations besides the one in Cape Cod.
6. Shatt-Al-Arab Hotel in Basra, Iraq: This site was possibly censored after it was reported that terrorists who attacked the British at the hotel used aerial footage displayed by Google Earth to target their attacks.
7. Leeuwarden, Netherlands: This Dutch city is one of the main operating bases of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, part of NATO’s Joint Command Centre and one of three Joint Sub-Regional Commands of Allied Forces Northern Europe. Leeuwarden is also one of two regional headquarters of Allied Command Europe, headed by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
8. Reims Air Base in France: This lone building on Reims Air Base in France is blurred out.
9. Novi Sad: This military base in Serbia is off-limits.
10. Kamp van Zeist: Kamp van Zeist is a former U.S. Air Force base that was temporarily declared sovereign territory of the U.K. in 2000 in order to allow the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial to take place.

See the other 41 here…  and note that, while (understandably) there’s no Street View photography available, Area 51 is on Google Maps.

As we unfold our maps, we might recall that it was on this date that, in 1952, the first UNIVAC, the world’s first commercially-produced electronic digital computer, was delivered to a customer– the Pentagon.  UNIVAC, which stood for Universal Automatic Computer, was developed by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, makers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer (started by the U.S. Government in 1943 and finished in 1946) for use at Los Alamos and in other defense-related settings.

(In 1951,the U.S. Census Bureau “received” the first Univac, but it was operating at Remington Rand Labs; there was apprehension over disassembling and moving it…  it finally did reach its home– then stayed in service long after it was obsoleted by advancing technology. Indeed, the Census Bureau used it until 1963– for twelve years.)

Eckert (center) demonstrating UNIVAC to Walter Cronkite (right)

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