April 12, 2005 4:57 PM   Subscribe

If A tree falls Google Maps will see it
posted by srboisvert (31 comments total)
Not to derail this thread, but why wasn't it such a big deal when MapQuest (I believe, but maybe it was Yahoo) let you switch back and forth between maps and satellite images a while back? I mean, Google maps was a huge improvement over everything else, but the satellite stuff didn't seem all that revolutionary to me.
posted by stopgap at 5:31 PM on April 12, 2005

Of all components for an application (web-based or not), the quality/type of user interface certainly is significant, isn't it?

The map is amazing --- I continued to zoom out and expect to see an end to the tree-cutting, it took much longer than expected.
posted by quam at 5:35 PM on April 12, 2005


The BC logging industry has had a sordid history of environment destruction beyond most compare. On the other hand, they seem to be fairly clued-in these days as to the long-term viability of forest management practices, and try to do the right things, albeit with substantial public and government pressure.

BC's biggest forestry problem at this time isn't logging, but nature. The entire province is under a pine beetle attack that has reached epidemic proportions. This is likely due to two factors: a lack of forest fires, due to fire supression practices; and a lack of really, really cold winters this past decade or so.

One also needs to be aware that some of the worst clearcut areas are, in fact, the result of nature. There was a freak blowdown a couple decades ago in the Prince George region that lay ruin to a swath of trees tens of miles wide and hundreds of miles long. And there is massive logging in what will probably prove to be a vain attempt to control the beetle spread. Too, the forest fires a few years back were mindblowing huge.

One can not say enough bad things about logging practices decades ago. It was, in every sense of the word, some of the greediest, stupidest, most devastating stuff that humans could do.

These days, not so much.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on April 12, 2005

... ruin to a swath of trees tens of miles wide and hundreds of miles long

damn. them's some big trees.
posted by keswick at 6:06 PM on April 12, 2005

The coolest thing that I've seen on Google Maps isn't a fallen tree, but this shot near Gerlach, Nevada which shows the outline of the camp at Burning Man.

Now if they could only let you zoom in in real time, that would be something...
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:50 PM on April 12, 2005

Why can't we see the whole dang world, eh? These satelites, they orbit, right?
posted by squirrel at 7:38 PM on April 12, 2005

Or to the site of the Philadelphia Folk Festival in Schwenkesville, PA. You can make out all the main stages, but it seems that the photos were taken before any real activity began.
posted by The White Hat at 7:41 PM on April 12, 2005

man i can't wait til google gets some spy drones!
posted by stratastar at 8:47 PM on April 12, 2005

I'm anxious for someone to hack Google maps so that the "map" can overlay the satellite image at varying transparency. Would be soooo cool.
posted by Tubes at 8:48 PM on April 12, 2005

Clouds - first time I've seen any
posted by punishinglemur at 11:02 PM on April 12, 2005

oh you want wholesale landscape rape?

just wait until they have satellite shots of tasmania.
posted by soi-disant at 1:08 AM on April 13, 2005

Apropos Tubes, also worth mentioning is Multimap, who's UK streetmaps can be overlaid with aerial photos (click aerial on the toolbar above the map - may be browser specific).
posted by Leon at 2:07 AM on April 13, 2005

Nice shot punishglemur, but I have seen other maps with clouds in them.

I did try a little game with your link though. I kept zooming out until I was able to guess the location of the picture (somewhere in Wisconsin). It took me until the 4th from last zoom position.
posted by smcniven at 5:21 AM on April 13, 2005

Yep, Leon's right about Multimap, here's an example (hover to see the map overlay).
posted by runkelfinker at 5:51 AM on April 13, 2005

Along the same lines as the FPP, I'm wondering if anyone can find some big-old mining activity. The places to look, I think, would be MT and WY for huge gold mines, and maybe WV for hilltop coal mining. I bet that stuff looks really nasty.
posted by Mid at 6:28 AM on April 13, 2005

Google maps doesn't seem to like Firefox - I had to resort to IE to view any of the images/maps.
posted by deborah at 7:24 AM on April 13, 2005

Cool, pfb.

I will look for some W. Va. hilltop mining later.
posted by Mid at 8:05 AM on April 13, 2005

but the ability to toggle back and forth between map and satellite views is insanely useful for establishing a sense of scale.

Know what would be even more useful for establishing a sense of scale? Putting a freakin' scale marker on the map or image, just like every other major map and satellite image site already does!! Get with it already, Google! </peeve>
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:55 AM on April 13, 2005

This is what, the third FPP about google maps? The blog this FPP links to has been posted on here before.
posted by raedyn at 10:07 AM on April 13, 2005

Sparwood BC is a coal mine. Scroll to the right and you'll find the Turtle Mountain landslide which wiped out the town of Frank in 1903. Half the mountain tumbled down, swept across the valley, and halfway up the opposing range. The town was completely wiped from the map, save a few miraculously-unharmed huts.

The entire area is pock-mocked with coal mines, both huge underground mines, and huge open-pit mines. It's a fascinating bit of country, well worth exploring.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:12 AM on April 13, 2005

squirrel: Why can't we see the whole dang world, eh? These satelites, they orbit, right?

Very few satelites see the whole earth's surface. In fact many satelites see only one piece of ground 24/7/365.

And what five fresh fish said about BC and logging. There are many factors at play in deciding what will be cut and it's impossible to tell anything meaningful from just an unscaled, no legend air photo, especially a false colour one as these appear to be. Plus the presence of huge cut blocks made years ago doesn't tell you anything about what is being done now. Massive changes in cutting practices have been made in the last 30 years.
posted by Mitheral at 10:16 AM on April 13, 2005

wired has a nice article that came out last night regarding the hidden gems in this crazy map that yes, raedyn, does deserve the fpps and the hype.
posted by tsarfan at 10:30 AM on April 13, 2005

mid, I'd be interested in those mountain-top removal shots, especially if you can identify any specifics.
posted by alms at 10:43 AM on April 13, 2005

These might be hilltop mines. Not sure. I found some lat/longs on this page and tried to find them on google.
posted by Mid at 11:24 AM on April 13, 2005

I dunno how to make Google do what I want, so you'll have to click some buttons to see what I want to show you:

Start here, at Frank, Alberta. You can zoom in a few steps to see the destruction wrought by the mountain the Indians named "Mountain That Moves." White settlers were obviously none-too-bright in building their town under it.

Slightly to the north is a loop in the road, I think for big monster travel homes. Directly west of that is a cluster of light green streaks that look as if they could be a ski hill, but are not. Equidistant between them and just slightly further north is a dark brown slash, and even further north is another ugly brown slash, this time with obvious dark water at the bottom.

Those are open-pit coal mines dating back nearly a century, part of the collosal coal projects in the area. It was a boomtown area for many decades, and really only lost momentum within the past thirty or so years. Further to the west are the open-pit mines of Sparwood.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:41 AM on April 13, 2005

Ah, frick. It looks like the Google URL means bupkiss. You'll have to type "Frank, Alberta" into the search field.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:41 AM on April 13, 2005

You can plug lat/longs into the google URL just by replacing the xxx digits:

posted by Mid at 12:05 PM on April 13, 2005

Ah, frick. It looks like the Google URL means bupkiss. You'll have to type "Frank, Alberta" into the search field.

Click the "share this link" link on the right hand side. Like this.
posted by srboisvert at 3:32 PM on April 13, 2005

Coulda sworn I did.

I've been on the top of this mountain, this one, and these ones.

Good times, good times.

Pushing boulders off Turtle Mountain (and praying to not start another landslide!) was great. Amateur spelunking was great. Glacier bootskiing was great. And running down the coal scree slopes on this incredibly windy mountain was too much fun.

Gosh, the memories. I almost fell to my death on this ridge (Mt. Indefatigable) in the Kananaskis. There are points where it's no more than fifteen feet wide, with hundreds of meters plunge off either side. I stepped on a pebble... opps.

Best mountain-top evah: Mt. Wilcox, across from the Athabasca glacier, on a blue-sky day. Dead-easy hike (hell, it's just a rugged walk), but a view to die for. Absolutely completely stunning: 360 degrees of limitless beauty.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on April 13, 2005

And, hey, look! It's Earth's Asshole!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:48 PM on April 13, 2005

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