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The Eye of Philadelphia
|| 3/7/2010 || 3:20 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
The Eye of Philadelphia by Nikolas Schiller

I’ve started working on a series for next month’s exhibition in Philadelphia. I’m not sure what final scope of the project will end up being, but I’m enjoying the act of making new maps again.

The first in this series is based off of the similarly pattered “eye” series that I used in locations like Kansas City, Missouri and Erie, Pennsylvania. The imagery used in this project is based off of two type of aerial photography from the USGS. This map employs the .75m per pixel spatial resolution that was published in 2004. You can read the metadata here.

While there is newer 2006 imagery at .15m per pixel, there has not been subsequent imagery added to the USGS servers since I made my first generation maps of this city. I found and requested newer imagery from the city of Philadelphia, but was met with no answer upon two e-mails. Therefore I had to follow-up with the older imagery that is slightly out-dated, but just as useful for what I am working on.

I chose .75m resolution imagery for the oblique nature of the imagery. This allows the viewer to see the sides of buildings they would otherwise not see if the photograph was taken directly above; which is the case with most orthorectified imagery. I’m please with the results and look forward to printing it out.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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another QR Code mistake
|| 4/23/2008 || 12:24 pm || Comments Off on another QR Code mistake || ||

: rendered at 9,000 x 6,000 :

The other week I attempted to hack the QR-Code to see if I could visually embed a censored aerial photograph of the Washington Monument to create “Geovisual QR Code“. While I was unsuccessful, I enjoyed the process of experimenting with this type of visual code.

Today I tried to make a second QR Code design based off a QR Code tessellation. I was able to make the tessellation without a problem and when I was finished I saved the new QR Code as a GIF. When I imported the GIF into my rendering program I noticed that something was awry. Instead of being shown in black & white I was seeing bits of color. I assume that this happened because the program does not take GIF files well. This might have happened because I saved the GIF as an interlaced file and when the program was deconstructing the GIF it created some type of visual static. Instead of casting the mistake aside, I decided to see what the final result would be, and frankly sometimes even mistakes can look quite cool.

Up next will be the intended QR Code design.

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Boston Financial District Quilt
|| 4/20/2008 || 8:11 pm || Comments Off on Boston Financial District Quilt || ||

: rendered at 12,000 X 8,000 :
Boston Commons Quilt #2

Continuing my series of maps of Boston, Massachusetts, today’s map features Boston’s Financial District. Using the same Quilt / Lenz hybrid that I first employed in Rochester Quilt #2, I placed a magnifying sphere over the center of the map. This magnified geography in the center of the map features Boston’s Government Center, Faneiul Hall, and the nearby Faneuil Hall Marketplace. As your eye moves away from the center the rest of Boston’s Financial District is revealed.

View the Google Map of Boston’s Financial District.

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Brownsville Spheres
|| 3/17/2008 || 5:30 pm || Comments Off on Brownsville Spheres || ||

: rendered at 15,000 X 10,000 :Brownsville Spheres.

Brownsville is the southernmost border town in the state of Texas. Similar to my “Ciudad Paso” maps, this map features land in both America (Brownsville) & Mexico (Matamoros, Tamaulipas) and literally focuses on border issues like immigration.

Using the same elements of Charlotte Spheres, I decided to make another version of this type of Lenz-influenced map. Unlike the previous version, which featured the spheres completely centered, I chose to move the spheres around to achieve a desired result.

Specifically, I noticed that a few of the spheres (four to be precise) hovered over the border facility where cars are waiting in line (below) to cross into America/Mexico. If you look closely, you can see the border/bridge at 3 different spatial scales. This visual element is what I like the most about using the spheres in my maps because it forces your eye to move around the page to identify places where the geography is the same and where the scale is different. One drawback, however, is that I cannot accurately predict how much magnification the spheres will produce. This map, for example, was slightly overprojected (see the graininess below), but unless I am printing it at it’s largest size, its hard to tell the degree to which the imagery was overprojected. I chose to render the map at 15Kx10K instead of the normal 18Kx12K to allow for 3,000 pixels worth of magnification to take place, yet after looking at the results, I probably should have rendered it at 12Kx9K. Oh well, thats the beauty of trial & error; next one will be better.

View the Google Map of Brownsville, Texas.

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Federal Triangle Refraction
|| 3/6/2008 || 12:16 pm || Comments Off on Federal Triangle Refraction || ||

: rendered at 12,000 X 8,000 :
Federal Triangle Refraction by Nikolas Schiller

Lately I’ve been revisiting some of the elements from the Lenz Projection— specifically in the Charlotte Spheres, Pentagon Spheres, Grand Design Lenz Quilt, and Rochester Quilt #2. Today I decided to experiment a little more with aerial refraction. Using the 3rd derivative tessellation, originally used in Federal Triangle Quilt #4, I this created a visually engaging map. I like how the bars look very similar to my polar coordinate experiments. Specifically, I like the way that they imagery is curved and refracted. What I don’t like, however, is the way the shadows present themselves within the refraction. Since like bars are angled toward the viewer, they create a darker hue due to their internal shadows. The way around this is to decrease the angle of the bars, but in response to this, the imagery bends less. I will probably revisit this type of map in the future.

View the Google Map of Federal Triangle in downtown Washington, DC.

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Charlotte Spheres #2
|| 2/3/2008 || 7:52 pm || Comments Off on Charlotte Spheres #2 || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
Charlotte Spheres 2

Using a portion of Charlotte Spheres #1, I created this derivative map. I noticed that there was over-projection in some parts of the first map, so I under-projected this map to reduce further pixilation. The result is one of the most exquisite quilt projection maps yet! It has a nice assortment of aerial photography at multiple scales and the geometric designs of the original buildings standout quite nicely. I look forward to getting this printed eventually because it’s quite fun to look at.

Speaking of printing, I spent some of my hard-earned funds on a 60″ x 40″ canvas print of Federal Triangle Quilt #4. This is the largest printing I’ve ordered for myself. I joined Imagekind exactly one year ago and not once did I ever get around to purchasing one of my maps at it’s largest size and on the most expensive media. It’s not like I didn’t want to, but I just wasn’t sure which one to purchase. I have a $2,500 check arriving shortly from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and I intend on purchasing quite a few more! Very excited.

One disappointment was how the canvas hangs using Poster Hangers. I hung it vertically and the sides of the canvas bend inward. I knew this was going to happen somewhat, but I was expecting so much bend– like a full two inches curving inward. Another interesting observation is how the texture of the canvas adds to the quilted nature of the projection technique. When it comes to quality and longevity of media, I think I’m going to do most of my future printing on canvas. It costs more, but I think it’s worth it.

Also arriving last week was Imagekind’s Sample Media Kit, which contains samples of all of the company’s media that my maps are printed on. It costs $15, but you get $15 off your next purchase, so it’s kind of worth it. My evaluation of the kit was rather simple: does it reflect too much light or does the paper/canvas tear? The winner, and what I printed Federal Triangle Quilt #4 and Israel / Palestine 1993 on, was the Epson Piezo Pro Matte Canvas.

View the Google Map of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Charlotte Spheres
|| 2/2/2008 || 4:59 pm || Comments Off on Charlotte Spheres || ||

: rendered at 15,000 X 10,000 :
Charlotte Spheres by Nikolas Schiller

About a week ago I noticed someone from Charlotte, North Carolina looked at my website multiple times. One time while they were exploring my website the person did a search for “Charlotte” and since I had not made a map of Charlotte yet, they didn’t find anything….

Using the same Lenz Projection elements used in Pentagon Spheres and Dupont Circle Lenz Quilt, I developed this unique map. However, unlike the Pentagon Spheres map, I arranged the height of the spheres in a different pattern and I used a diamond quilt projection for the background.

I am quite pleased with the results. Specifically, I like how the magnification varies perfectly on the left and right-hand side of the map. Below you can see a close up detail of two identical locations that were magnified differently. The magnification process is quite processor intensive which made this map take over 10 hours to render– the longest render time since I purchased my MacBook last year and I didn’t even render it at my standard size.

View the Google Map of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Audio from Teresa Mendez’s article in the Christian Science Monitor
|| 1/29/2008 || 4:38 am || Comments Off on Audio from Teresa Mendez’s article in the Christian Science Monitor || ||

I was able to extract Teresa Mendez’s 90 second audio segment from the Christian Science Monitor‘s website. I uploaded it to my website for archival purposes. You can listen to her talk about the Festival of Maps in Chicago and my Lenz Projection.

Click here to download the 90 second MP3.



The Grand Design Lenz Quilt
|| 1/13/2008 || 11:20 am || Comments Off on The Grand Design Lenz Quilt || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
The Grand Design Lenz Quilt

Using the elements from the Lenz Projection I was able to magnify portions of a tessellated Messier 101 Pinwheel Galaxy (a grand design galaxy) to create this fine celestial perspective.

Read more about this project here.

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Rochester Quilt #2
|| 12/18/2007 || 11:19 am || Comments Off on Rochester Quilt #2 || ||

: rendered at 15,000 X 10,000 :
Rochester Quilt #2

This map features the transparent sphere originally used in the Lenz Project. By placing the sphere on the map, it magnifies whatever region it is placed over, and for this map it’s been placed at the center. I rendered the map at 150 megapixels instead of the standard 216 because I did not want to over-project area within the Lenz. As in, if the sphere magnifies the raster map too much it will cause it to blur when projected at a large size, so by limiting the size of the map I prevented the level of potential blurriness. The last map I made that used this process was the Pentagon Spheres, but this is first time I’ve used the Lenz at the center of a dodecagon quilt projection map. I hope to use this technique more in the future.

View the Google Map of the Rochester, New York

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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