In 2003, broadcaster and author Mark Ovenden designed the World Metro Map to present a global transportation system that connects cities through underground railways. His vision could end up becoming reality after all, now that LA-based company Hyperloop One has selected 35 teams as finalists in its global challenge to design the future of the vacuum-sealed train system.
Australia isn’t where you think it is! The continent is moving seven centimeters (2.75 inches) up northwards each year. From 1994, when the current coordinates of Australia were set, the land has shifted 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). It might not seem like a big deal, but it is still enough to disrupt global navigation satellite systems, putting Australia out of sync. This affects GPS, meteorologists, automated cars and even drones. For example, without updating the GPS, a delivery drone will leave the package at your neighbor’s house, instead of yours.
In March 2012 a team of Disney’s creatives booked a tour through Norway to find inspiration for their upcoming film “Frozen“, or “Frost” as the movie is called in Norway. The breathtaking fjords, glacier lakes and snow-capped mountaintops served as the perfect backdrop for the Oscar-winning film. The animated feature not only broke box office records when it was released in 2013, it also boosted Norwegian tourism by 20%. And it’s not sure if that is a good thing.
Earlier this month, a group of Palestinian journalists published a statement accusing Google of deleting Palestine from Google Maps. The truth is, Google never acknowledged Palestine in the first place. In their pursuit of mapping the physical world online, these companies simultaneously shape our understanding of it too. This makes us wonder if the map really is the territory.
Kids can now explore the Himalayas just using a new Google Maps app. A 500-foot Yeti, named Verne, will guide them on a virtual tour of the planet’s highest peaks. The company has combined 3D graphics with their maps to create a unique experience for adventurous kids to traverse the outside world, staying inside.
There is a piece of the world that has not been mapped by Google’s all-seeing eye, and that’s a shame according to Visit Faroe Islands, the tourist agency of the “sheep islands” that launched a petition to get Google there. With a population of 49.188 humans and 80.000 sheep, the archipelago rightfully deserves its name. As part of Denmark, the 18 tiny islands in the north Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland are invisible to the maps of Google Street View, so they invented their own Street View technology. Introducing, Sheep View 360.
Before 1985 the virtual world was yet an uncharted space, an aerea full of potential but devoid of activity. Then in 1985, the online world has been permanently linked to the physical world. This happened when it was agreed that each country has to own its piece of virtual space, encapsulated in a two-letter code within the Domain Name System. Thirty years later, the online world counts 3.2 billion “citizens”, Internet users. But like our cities transformed the natural environment, the online domains shaped the virtual landscape.
Terrapattern is a new search engine that allows users to seek out similar-looking locations from aerial perspective and finds connections between different landscapes and human-built environments. Its potential is very wide, it is a powerful tool for everyone, from researchers to designers or artists. The concept is simple, you click on a single place on the map, like a tennis court or a pool, then the search engine works its magic. A clever algorithm ties together similar shapes of different colors and shapes, giving the user a unique selection of similar environments.
Our planet is composed of millions of networks. The balance between the animal species and their habitats. The migrations in history. The financial flows between countries and continents. Everything that happens in the world, on a microscopic scale as well as globally, is potentially describable as a set of mathematical functions. The more accurate they are, the more useful they will be to depict not only the present but also the future reality.