Wed 23 Jun 2010
Do you want to know a secret? Online cartography is evolving. Why do you have to be so fancy? Can’t you just say maps have gotten better? Big changes deserve big words. While Techlife has shared hidden map games; how to make your own maps and why street level details are so valuable; we now want to share the value of immersive photographic cartography.
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps (also can be called mapping). Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively. -Wikipedia
Using Google Maps and Bing Maps advanced features I focused on exploring a single famous monument; The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Both offer top down satellite views of this famous location.
Google has clearer images than Bing for satellite maps, which comes from a combination of time of day, season and hardware used to take these shots. Google also has continuous street views for many places around the world, including the Lincoln Memorial. Finally Google has a nice ability to integrate their own street view with user generated photos from all angles of the Lincoln Memorial, with the photo set locations mapped as shown.
Bing’s satellite maps are good enough to get you to move past them quickly to what I think is the best feature of these new digital maps, a bird’s eye multi-rotational view. As you can see the ability to rotate around a building at multiple angles gives a much clearer understanding of the structure than satellite only. Bird’s eye view, like Street View isn’t available everywhere yet but try out your home or favorite museum and see how amazing it feels to be immersed.
Bing Maps adds one more feature that Techlife drooled over in 2007, PhotoSynth. A Photosynth is a group of photos of a specific object or place that get stitched together to create highly detailed and visually stunning photographic experiences in 3D space. By geotagging user’s Photosynth’s into the Bing maps, you don’t just see some random snapshots of the outside and inside of the Lincoln Memorial but can take a journey from the outside into the inside and look up and down with amazing detail and spatial understanding.
While I have used Google Maps to get me places and build collaborative maps (something I love). I have used Bing Maps to investigate rental property, research vacations collaboratively, and see quite a few friend’s new home purchases. Knowing how each tool can be used is the key to your own immersive photographic cartography. Share your story with me.