Friday, May 06, 2005

more mappage

I tried to add a few Dots (for later connecting.) I can easily see people becoming addicted to the searchable satellite images. There is nothing to search out side the US. And blurred areas obscure the better part of my hometown Port Jefferson. Also, the USGS topo map of that area was made in '67 It's the same map that I had as a kid given to me by one of the surveyors named Jens. I learned how to use a lensetic compass to triangulate my location by sighting notable landmarks and plotting the angle with a parallel rule. Whenever I "missed home" over the years I would pull out the tattered map of Port Jefferson harbor and all the roads that I had traveled there. I'm sure that other people have the same urge but there is something slightly more compelling about looking at the grey fuzzy rooftops than the neat marks made by a cartographer. Of course I need the detail provided in the topos.

If I had a digital camera I would consider organizing online photos with a link to their location. Along with Memory Maps, I can see this taking on a journalistic function. It could also be used for evil. Stalkers might get better at their game. It's not such a problem if they spend a lot of time looking at two-year-old photos of you roof, but if people collect data and then share that data, there could be unforeseen consequences. I recall a Novel called "Earth" by David Brin in which privacy was pretty much a thing of the past. Everyone has total access to public records and the right to add observations to the public database. The purpose of this open book policy, in Brin's novel, is the prevention of clandestine wealth hoards, created by individuals exploiting the natural resources of the earth.

Not that Google Maps could eliminate plutocracy. The White House is blurred, as are Oil refineries and Power plants. Watts In California is visible, as is most of suburbia. The only poor who escape are those in dilapidated rural areas too remote to justify photographing.

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