flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a nice Earth at Night image from 2012. Click to see the hi-res version:
Earth at Night Suomi NPP 2012

I had an Earth at Night poster in my dorm room nearly 20 years ago. Some notable areas that stand out now:

  • Large oil and gas installations are very prominent, and were fairly absent in the late '90s version of the map. There are lots of very bright lights in…
    • The middle of the Persian Gulf
    • The Bakken formation in North Dakota and the Alberta tar sands
    • Bazhenov formation near the Ob river in Siberia
    • Off the coast of the Niger and Congo deltas
    • To a lesser extent, the coasts of northern Alaska, Louisianna, and Venezuela, and the middle of the Caspian Sea
    • I'm not sure what's up with the bright area the shape of Vermont to the south of Korea and west of Japan. It looks further north than the maps I see when I search [East China Sea oil fields]. Maybe it, the dots between Hainan and Vietnam, like the lines between Argentina and the Falkland Islands, signals night fishing
    • The area around Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan is brighter than I expected, too
  • The position of North Korea are very prominence, due to the distinct lack of lights compared to their neighbors
  • Myanmar shows significantly more light than North Korea, suggesting that development there is expanding
  • The Empty Quarter (of Arabia) really is empty
  • Moscow is a lovely 8-pointed star as people have filled in along the arterial highways
  • Metro Bangkok (famous for having the worst traffic in the world) is larger than I'd expected
  • The whole Straight of Malaca is lit up. I'm not sure if that's development on the shore or cargo ships.
  • The brightness of the lower Nile and its delta are always striking. I suspect this may be in part due to the presence of the Aswan dams generating power, not just the population density
  • Israel is somewhat brighter than its neighbors, though western Jordan is fairly solid
  • Europe has several areas that are basically solid light, with big cities only slightly brighter while America has very prominent metropolises with more subdued dots (in the east) and open space (in the west)
  • Speaking of the American east–west divide, there's almost a vertical line from Winnipeg do the mouth of the Rio Grande separating the "plenty of people" part of the country from the "a few metropolitan oases until you get to the Pacific coast" part of the country
  • Though a little less distinct, there's a ring around much of the Tibetan Plateau
  • The Caspian coast of Iran is a more populated area than many folks realize
  • Many folks would also be surprised by the brightness of Java, though as the most populous island in the world it should be expected
  • Taiwan has an interesting western crescent of light
  • Puerto Rico is almost as bright as the Florida coast
  • McMurdo Station doesn't make enough light to show up, but Antarctica has a high albedo, even at night
  • Not only are there very few lights in the Congo rainforest, it also reflects less moonlight than the deserts to its north, south, and east. The Amazon has a similar effect.
  • If you're wondering what's up with West Australia, the images were taken when bush fires were burning

flwyd: (1895 USA map)
When you write a story down, it only happens one way.
When you adapt a book to film, the characters have specific appearances.
When you draw shapes on a map, a smeared spectrum becomes four crisp colors.

I want to expound more on these ideas in a blog post, but starting the year with an intellectual all-nighter wouldn't be very auspicious.

Murder Sandwich

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 11:58 pm
flwyd: (1895 USA map)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] vsmallarray at Murder Sandwich

I'm not sure if I feel worse for the countries that don't have any films about them, like Suriname, the countries associated with something horrible, like Armenia -> genocide, or the countries whose main film association is another country, like Pakistan -> India.
[livejournal.com profile] vsmallarray is the infographic project of the artist behind [livejournal.com profile] catandgirl.
flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
Google Earth has some pretty cool ways to view buildings in 3D, but like any great technology, after a while it seems ordinary. So it was a big "Whoa" moment when I saw what Baidu, China's largest search engine, is doing with their SimCity-style building layer:

Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, Zoom in on Mao's portrait
Shanghai too
Sprawling Guangzhou and the second tallest building in the world, the Canton Tower
Apartment buildings in Shenzhen Even the highway interchanges are 3D.

What meets Where

Sunday, January 31st, 2010 11:31 am
flwyd: (1895 USA map)
I've added the Google Maps Module, so now you can view my photo gallery geographically. You can use the map to find clusters of photos I've taken since I got my GPS device early last year, plus some album coordinates I set by hand. The "View Album on a Map" link is available even on albums without any geography information. My server is not very fast, so the user experience isn't as snappy as browsing my geotagged photos on Picasa, but I've got more pictures on my main gallery.

Photos and maps, two of my favorite things to stare at!
flwyd: (1895 Colorado map)
My mom fetched a large roll of wrapping paper from the basement. After trying to remove some of it, she discovered that it was actually a wrapped cardboard tube. On the end, there was a tag, addressed to my uncle, from my mom. This implies that on Christmas at least two decades ago, this present was camouflaged and forgotten, then subsequently consistently mistaken for a normal roll of wrapping paper.

Rather chuffed at her discovery, my mom gave me the present, a large map of Colorado. Is it re-gifting if the intended recipient never got the gift in the first place?

Tech Support Elf

Thursday, December 24th, 2009 02:20 am
flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
NORAD intelligence reports indicate that Santa does not experience time the way we do. His Christmas Eve trip seems to take 24 hours to us, but to Santa it might last days, weeks or even months. Santa would not want to rush the important job of delivering presents to children and spreading Christmas to everyone, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions within his own time-space continuum.
NORAD Tracks Santa FAQ
As a Colorado kid, I knew two things about NORAD: It's an air force base inside a mountain and every Christmas Eve they appear on local news to update viewers on the location of Santa.

In the high-tech 21st Century, you don't have to wait for the local news to tell you where Santa is; you can watch his progress live in Google Maps and even in 3D with Google Earth. The technology gets better and the cultural heritage lives on. Santa is perhaps the best example of the mythic process alive in contemporary society.

A "volunteer to answer tech support email" list got passed around Google, so I've been enjoying reading questions from kids, thanks from parents, and reminders that not everyone is as skilled at using a web browser as I am.

Naughty, nice, or both, I hope you all discover a wonderful gift soon. (Take that as metaphorically as you like.)


Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 09:13 am
flwyd: (1895 USA map)
This is the funniest thing I've seen in weeks. From [livejournal.com profile] vsmallarray, the charts and graph project of Dorothy Gambrel, artist for [livejournal.com profile] catandgirl and [livejournal.com profile] donationderby.

Update February, 2011: Somehow this post has become the most popular one on my journal for comment spam, so I've disabled comments.


Friday, January 12th, 2007 09:55 pm
flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
If you go out to dinner with a map maker, you'll be dining a la cartographer.

Love Writ Large

Monday, December 11th, 2006 02:19 pm
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Someone in Long Island City has a creative way to pop the question. (Be sure to close the info balloon to see what's up.)

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] polonius for the discovery.
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