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Design Under Sky discusses landscape architecture, the utilitarian but leaning towards the conceptual, thinking on modern occurrences and peripheral boundaries.  

DUS is the blog and personal design studio of Adam E. Anderson, a designer based out of the East Coast, currently a Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a designer at Landworks Studio.

For design inquires, feel free to contact me below.

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Friday
Oct312008

Geotagged Photo Cartography

{Photo Geotagging of Baghdad: Source}

Currently, only fairly significant thoroughfares provide information for street view opportunities, but as was once suggested to me if Google were able to gather personal photos from around the world taken of the nooks and crannies of urban pockets and alleyways, as well as forgotten country roads and named paths, its essentially possible to visually map every path of travel throughout the world.

Flickr has developed software that can take the geotagged photos, which could list the city, country, state, etc., and use this information to fairly accurately create geographic maps.

It's a rather complicated process, using Where On Earth(WOE) IDs, and referred to as reverse-geocoding.  A short explanation of how it works by flickr:  scary and complicated math.  A longer explanation provided by Tran Kai Frank Da and Mariette Yuinec:

Imagine a huge mass of ice-cream making up the space...and containing the points as hard chocolate pieces.  Using one of those sphere-formed ice-cream spoons we carve out all parts of the ice-cream block we can reach without bumping into chocolate pieces, thereby even carving out holes in the inside (e.g. parts not reachable by simply moving the spoon from the outside).  We will eventually end up with a (not necessarily convex) object bounded by caps, arcs and points.  If we now straighten all round faces to triangles and line segments, we have an intuitive description of what is called the alpha shape.

The truly amazing part of this process is how the "community" has the authority to provide areas previously unmapped.  By uploading personal photos of areas not covered by mapping software, members have the power of further shrinking our world through greater visual access and understanding of locations one might not be willing or unable to visit.

Last fall I went on a three-week backpacking trip through India, a country so unfamiliar too me it felt world's away.  But after traveling there, and experiencing there culture and people, it's now to me, a place that's ONLY 16-hour plane ride away.

If a link between the flickr software and Google Earth can join, I think idealistically this can have a positive effect on reducing fear in our world caused by lack of knowledge.


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