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robertogreco : elevation   5

Mapping Mountains · Mapzen
"I’ve been spending a lot of time over the mountains of Northern California lately. To view mountains from above is to journey through time itself: over ancient shorelines, the trails of glaciers, the marks of countless seasons, and the front lines of perpetual tectonic struggle. Fly with me now, on a tour through the world of elevation data:

[image]

If you see something above that looks like a lightning storm in a Gak factory, you’re in the right place. This is a “heightmap” of the area around Mount Diablo, about 30 miles to the east of San Francisco. The stripes correlate to constant elevations, but they’re not intended to be viewed in this way – the unusual coloring is the result of the way the data is “packed” into an RGBA image: each channel encodes a different order of magnitude, combining to form a 4-digit value in base-256.

The data originates from many sources, including those compiled by the USGS and released as part of The National Map of the United States. Mapzen is currently combining this data with other global datasources including ocean bathymetry, and tiling it for easy access through a tile server.

When “unpacked,” processed, and displayed with WebGL, this data can be turned into what you were maybe expecting to see:

[image]

This is a shaded terrain map, using tiled open-source elevation data, drawn in real time by your very own browser, and looking sweet.

We’re processing this data with a view toward custom real-time hillshading, terrain maps, and other elevation-adjacent analysis, suitable for use by (for instance) the Tangram map-rendering library.

Why, you ask, and how? I’m glad you asked. For the Why, come with me back through time, to the past."
peterrichartdson  2016  mapzen  maps  mapping  mountains  elevation  cartography  webgl  california  bayarea  mountdiablo  visualization 
march 2016 by robertogreco
The Lay of the Land | edgeca.se
[Now at: http://fjord.style/the-lay-of-the-land ]

"I have a lot of questions. I blame the fact that I grew up in a fjord.

Our town was squeezed onto a small strip of land on the edge of a deep bay, in an oblong bowl of mountains. To get anywhere, you had to leave by either “the narrows” on one end, or “the pass” on the other. Once outside, the closest approximation of civilization was eight hours away.

Inside this pre-Internet Shangri-La, raised with old comics instead of television, I developed a concept of the outside world which required a lot of recalibrating later. My education at the hands of my cartoon masters was supplemented by months-long summer family road trips, most of which was spent creeping through interminable mountain ranges, as I studied our road atlas, and my comics.

Eventually I escaped my fjord, but a few lessons of my youth have been repeatedly confirmed: topography is important, and there’s no faster way to make an impression than with a cartoon. And by “cartoon” I mean a simplification which exaggerates some details and omits others. You could also say “model,” but I like the connotations of “cartoon”; it retains a transgressive frisson that the word “model” doesn’t have, unless you’re in fashion. But anyway.

Some of my favorite things combine topography and cartoons. One in particular holds a special place in my heart: the raised relief map.

I love these maps because they feel like a very simple way of approaching some very complex questions which I don’t think anyone has answered to my satisfaction:
Where are we? What is this place like? What does it mean to be here?
Lately I’ve been focusing on a small part of this question set, something I’ve never felt I thoroughly understood: How big are mountains?"



"Whether due to limits of the material, the analytic or artistic judgements of the creator, or other artifacts of the process, most relief maps involve this kind of explicitly interpretive reduction. This increases their usefulness – an exact miniature of the landscape would not necessarily be more informative.

I’d love to explore a map of the world in such a style. But these things are incredibly time-consuming, requiring a lot of labor and decision-making, and eventually you run out of space. I’ve spent a lot of time working with 3D graphics, so here my thoughts naturally turn to a sub-question: Could these kinds of decisions be made programmatically in any way? And can our experience of mountains be incorporated at all into the process?

Which raises one further question: What is our experience of mountains?"
cartography  mapping  maps  dataviz  reality  perception  2013  peterrichardson  topography  mountains  elevation  comics  information  reliefmaps  canon 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Texture maps of Earth and Planets
"Here are some of my planetary texture maps that I've collected over the years. It has taken me lots of time to find and make these maps, but I'm providing them here for your modelling pleasure. They are available in a usable size compared to other places on the web. In fact, with the size of
via:reas  maps  mapping  photography  geography  space  earth  planets  nasa  images  textures  modeling  graphics  moon  mars  science  elevation 
july 2009 by robertogreco
iTrail
"iTrail uses the iPhone's GPS capability to track your progress along a trail, jogging path, etc. The reviews at the iTunes Store aren't glowing but we found that it worked pretty well for us. Here are a couple of graphs generated by iTrail of our hike:"
iphone  applications  hiking  gps  elevation  outdoors  ios 
october 2008 by robertogreco

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