Thursday, April 17, 2008

Improvement in Buildings, High Altitude

Stefan has made some interesting observations about the new version of Google Earth. IMHO he is broadly right about the 'brains' vs 'beauty' aspects, however, I do disagree with him on two points:

Buildings: Stefan writes:

"It’s true that the rendering of 3D buildings is now much more efficient, and that there are a lot more of them, but why doesn’t this constitute a huge informational boost? Because the satellite imagery already tells us there are buildings in those places; there is precious little else added by a 3D representation without metadata such as: Are the buildings residential, office, factory?..."

What about questions like: 'Will the new office development block my view of the golden gate bridge? How much of my view in the new house will be of trees and how much buildings? Will my hotel room have a view of San Francisco bay?

Screen shot is from my hotel window when I was in San Francisco in December, the supposed bay view is pretty difficult to justify

Whether this represents 'huge information' or just 'information' is a matter of opinion of course.

High Altitude View: He also writes:
"I like to be able to see the little rectangular strips of high resolution imagery across the face of Google Earth when zoomed out"
and explains its because he knows they represent high resolution imagery and are worth looking at. To most users I think the strips represent a visual glitch that they have to cope with when looking at the globe, it gets in the way of seeing and understanding the actual landscape. London is a grey/brown featureless splodge at altitude. I don't think its just eye candy to make the globe at high altitude look more like it does to astronauts.

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