Maps can be beautiful, interesting, and, of course, useful, but there are a lot of questions we address to maps — and these days, Google Maps specifically — that maybe a map isn’t the best tool for answering.
Think of it this way. In the days before online trip planners and GPS, if you wanted to know how to get from point A to point B, you would look at a map and trace out a route. But these days few people would use a map that way (I still do just because I enjoy the process but I think I’m in the minority). Instead, they would plug in their request and an algorithm would spit out a route for them. The route would appear on the map, but the map is no longer the tool for finding that answer.
(via The Future of the Map Isn’t a Map at All—It’s Information - Rebecca J. Rosen - The Atlantic)

Maps can be beautiful, interesting, and, of course, useful, but there are a lot of questions we address to maps — and these days, Google Maps specifically — that maybe a map isn’t the best tool for answering.

Think of it this way. In the days before online trip planners and GPS, if you wanted to know how to get from point A to point B, you would look at a map and trace out a route. But these days few people would use a map that way (I still do just because I enjoy the process but I think I’m in the minority). Instead, they would plug in their request and an algorithm would spit out a route for them. The route would appear on the map, but the map is no longer the tool for finding that answer.

(via The Future of the Map Isn’t a Map at All—It’s Information - Rebecca J. Rosen - The Atlantic)

A Vintage Look at ‘Modern Map Making’ in the 1940s

Thanks to smartphones and GPS, maps are just one more thing we tend to take for granted in our digital era. Caught Mapping, produced by Chevrolet in 1940, explores how roadmaps were made at the time. Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, the educational film outlines the whole process, from the field men who do the research to the cartographers who update the maps, featuring strategically placed Chevrolet cars all along the way.

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger

New 3D imagery for Google Earth for mobile (by Google)

Since 2006, we’ve had textured 3D buildings in Google Earth, and we’re excited to announce that we’ll begin adding 3D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices in the near future.

Thanks to new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision, we’re able to create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery. 

By the end of the year, we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.

Based upon the BBC’s award-winning Britain From Above. America Revealed is a unique look at what makes America tick, what it takes to keeps the biggest food machine in the world going, the delicate balance that keeps our supermarkets stocked with groceries and fast food restaurants supplied with fries. How we keep America moving with its vast and complex transport systems.  How we propel ourselves through energy, what maintains the constant supply of fuel and electricity to our homes and businesses and finally how we keep up with the ever changing world, the import and export infrastructure that shapes our manufacturing industry.

From the Corn farmer in Central Valley, California to the live wire cable repairers in New Jersey. Viewers will discover a fascinating new perspective on the hidden patterns and rhythms of American life, by looking through the eyes of individuals who all play a part in keeping America fed, moving, powered and making goods.

The series is presented by technology expert and communications attorney, Yul Kwon, but we probably know him better as the winner of Survivor: Cook Islands 2006. In this series Yul fully embraces his role as presenter and our guide, by jumping out of aeroplanes in Kansas, climbing to the top of wind turbines in the Columbia River Gorge and taking part in a giant tomato fight in Nevada. 

America Revealed uses beautiful and breath-taking aerial photography to provide an otherwise unseen view of America and use original data visualizations to demonstrate how our systems work.