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The Daily Render


A Digital Scrapbook for the Past, Present, and Future


Madison Offset
|| 3/5/2011 || 3:48 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Madison Offset by Nikolas Schiller

With the protests taking place inside of the Wisconsin State Capitol, I decided to make a map of the area around the building.

View the Google Map of Madison, Wisconsin.

: detail :
Detail of Madison Offset by Nikolas Schiller

View the rest of the details:


Washington Circle Parallelogram
|| 9/15/2010 || 9:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Washington Circle Parallelogram by Nikolas Schiller

I’ve mostly stayed away from creating maps that were not perfectly symmetrical, but this unique map is an exception. In geometry, a parallelogram is a four-sided shape with two pairs of parallel sides. This miscellaneous map builds off of the basic parallelogram shape, but due to the way the imagery tessellates, this parallelogram has a unique repetitive design not found in any of my previous maps.

View the Google Map of Washington Circle in the District of Columbia.

: detail :
Detail of Washington Circle Parallelogram by Nikolas Schiller

View the rest of the details:


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.

: detail :

View the rest of the details:


Malfunction Junction Offset
|| 6/16/2009 || 1:35 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Malfunction Junction Offset by Nikolas R. Schiller

The other week I downloaded the aerial photography of downtown Birmingham, Alabama to make some maps for a friend of mine. Upon closer inspection of the geography, I found that there was a nicely formed highway interchange close to the downtown area that happened to be colloquially named “Malfunction Junction.” While other cities can also claim in having their own Malfunction Junction, this highway interchange is the first one I’ve read about.

When I started working on this map I intended to render a couple versions and recursively sample them to created a fractal map, but I wasn’t happy with the results, so I decided to go in a completely direction. This map did end up using previously sampled imagery, but it does not conform to that regular quilt projection format of a centralized kaleidoscope. Also, this map is not unlike some of my previous maps, like White House Sunrise or Minneapolis Sunset, however, I chose to name it differently based on the position of the kaleidoscope’s focal point, which is offset in the upper left hand corner. I spent a lot of time adjusting this location and as you can see in the last detail below, I was a few pixels off. Up next I’m probably going to work on the downtown area of Birmingham, but I’m really itching to start mapping Europe.

View the Google Map of Malfunction Junction in Birmingham, Alabama

: detail :

View the rest of the map details:


A Navy Yard Perspective
|| 5/30/2009 || 1:43 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
A Navy Yard Perspective by Nikolas R. Schiller

While on blogging hiatus, I made this map on May 12th, but didn’t post it. I don’t really have any rationale for not posting it except that I wanted to take a month off from blogging to see where my daily visitor threshold was; as in finding how many people visited my website without daily blogging. So in order to ascertain the data, I purposely withheld this entry.

Following up last year’s Artomatic maps, which also featured the area prior to development, I decided to try something a little different. When making this map I spent a lot of time working with the field of view parameters to create the depth of perspective. In the foreground (the lower half) you have a somewhat close-up view of the area around the Navy Yard Metro station in Southeast, Washington, DC and in the upper half you have a larger field of view that appears to stretch out to infinite. The aerial photography was taken in the spring of 2005 before the stadium and subsequent nearby development had been completed. Even if you look at the current Google Maps of the area, the construction of this year’s Artomatic venue had not even began.

View the Google Map of the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, which features newer imagery

: detail of the Navy Yard Metro prior to construction :

View the rest of the map details:


A Gigapan of Erie Coke Corporation Eye
|| 3/22/2009 || 4:43 pm || Comments Off on A Gigapan of Erie Coke Corporation Eye || ||

After posting the map, I decided to upload it to the Gigapan website in order to add a little more interactivity to the map.

If you are subscribed to my RSS feed and are reading this on through your RSS reader, please click here to view it on my website or click here to view it on the Gigapan website.

Related Interactive Entries:


Erie Coke Corporation Eye
|| || 3:37 pm || Comments Off on Erie Coke Corporation Eye || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
Erie Coke Corporation Eye by Nikolas R. Schiller

After I rendered Erie Coke Corporation Quilt, I sampled a portion of the map to create a derivative tessellation. I applied this tessellation to the miscellaneous projection template I created last year when I mapped downtown Kansas City, Missouri. While the previous version looked more like a human eye made of the highway, this rendition is about focusing in on the pollution coming from the smokestack at the Erie Coke Corporation. I tend to work in perfect symmetries and by centering the plant, this map becomes asymmetrical and somewhat out of balance. I achieved this by moving the center of kaleidescope to the right side, and after a few minor tweaks, I was able to magnify the smokestack without degrading the source aerial photography (see below). Or check out the interactive Gigapan.

View the Google Map of the Erie Coke Corporation outside of Erie, Pennsylvania

: detail :

View the rest of the map details:


Eye 670 – A perspective of Interstate 670 in downtown Kansas City
|| 12/10/2008 || 3:04 pm || Comments Off on Eye 670 – A perspective of Interstate 670 in downtown Kansas City || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
Eye 670 by Nikolas R. Schiller

Using this portion of Kansas City Quilt #2, I created this derivative map of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. This map is a unique map because it features aspects of the Lenz Projection and the Quilt Projection combined to create what looks like a human eye. By combing what it looks like with the location, I-670, the name of this map becomes a play on words.

View the Google Map of downtown Kansas City, Missouri

: detail :

View the rest of the details:


The National Archives Cross
|| 10/24/2008 || 1:38 pm || Comments Off on The National Archives Cross || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :

So far I’ve made two other crosses: Mount Pleasant Cross and Memphis Cross. I am pretty sure how to make these now and future maps of this type will be added to it’s own special category on the sidebar. The cross above was chosen out of about 8 different tessellations and within this map is the National Archives at the center of the cross (hence the name), the Federal Trade Commission, the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Navy Memorial– which features a map of the western hemisphere (below), the Winfield Scott Hancock statue, the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial, and portions of the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and the west building of the National Gallery of Art, which make the vertical and horizontal stripe.

For reference, click here to view the outdated Google Map of downtown Washington, DC.

: detail of the National Archives :
: detail of the Navy Memorial :

View the rest of the details:


Meridian Hill Park Hexagon Tessellation
|| 8/2/2008 || 1:59 pm || Comments Off on Meridian Hill Park Hexagon Tessellation || ||

: saved at 15,000 X 10,000 :

This is the first time I’ve made a tessellation using hexagon as the basis for the pattern. Normally, I simply use a square because its the easiest to tessellate. The last map I made using Photoshop was Clayton Quilt #3, which was constructed using one square tile six times and did not exhibit radial symmetry like most of my other Qulit projection maps.

This time around I used center portion of the source tile that I used for Meridian Hill Park Quilt #4 and to switch things up a bit, I cut out a perfect hexagon from the the tile instead of using the tile’s square shape as basis for the tessellation. With one hexagon cut out, I merely duplicated it and moved it around to create the irregular tiling above. The difficulty was that I had to adjust the hexagon tiles so that they were not overlapping. It wasn’t that difficult per se, but it took awhile to get them all lined up perfectly. I am quite pleased with the result and figure that I will use this process again sometime in the not-so-distance future.

View the Google Map of Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC.

: detail :

View the rest of the map’s close-up details:


QR Code Tessellation
|| 4/23/2008 || 10:42 pm || Comments Off on QR Code Tessellation || ||

: rendered at 18,000 x 12,000 :

While the QR-Code mistake wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to create earlier today, this design turned out exactly as I originally envisioned. The plan was to take one QR Code and plot the code as a very large tessellation. Like the Geovisual QR Code, I wanted to make the embedded code something self-evident so I chose the text to be “QR Code Tessellation by Nikolas Schiller. Created on Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 in Washington, DC.”

For this design I rotated the code 45 degrees to create a diamond shape and after the rendering was finished I cut out 4 of the squares and added an enlarged QR Code in the lower right-hand corner. In all, it’s a very simple design but at the size of a billboard it would be very interesting to see it displayed.

: QR Code Decoded :

View the rest of the details:


another QR Code mistake
|| || 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.

: zoom to center :

View the rest of the details:


Memphis Cross
|| 4/5/2008 || 5:52 pm || Comments Off on Memphis Cross || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Memphis Cross

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and I decided to make a map the area around the site of the memorial. I made a similar cross a month ago using imagery from the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, DC and another cross-like map in the summer of 2005. Upon comparing the three, I feel that Mount Pleasant Cross looks more like a traditional cross because the reflection on 16th street forms the familiar shape. When preparing the imagery I adjusted the line of symmetry in the source tessellation to create a near perfect stadium reflection. In the current Google Maps imagery, which is newer than this map’s imagery, the dome of the stadium has Fedex Field printed across the top. Fortunately, the illusion of the symmetrical stadium was not ruined by corporate branding.

View the Google Map of Memphis, Tennessee.

Lorraine Motel / National Civil Rights Museum Detail

View the rest of the details:


Vassar Quilt Refraction
|| 3/28/2008 || 3:46 pm || Comments Off on Vassar Quilt Refraction || ||

: rendered at 15,000 X 10,000 :
Vassar Quilt Refraction

Using this portion of Vassar Quilt #2, I made this derivative map of Vassar College using added elements from the Lenz projection. The optics create a very unique sense of depth at the center of the map. I also added four other optical elements that create a fluvial design, almost appearing to flow toward the center.

View the Google Map of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

View the rest of the details:


Scott + Dupont Circle Quilt
|| 3/18/2008 || 1:07 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Scott + Dupont Circle Quilt

Continuing my current project of mapping the portions of Washington, DC that Google is censoring, I decided use the same process that was used to create Washington + Dupont Circle Quilt. This type of digitally derived double exposure aerial photography creates some of my favorite maps as of late. While I am only touching on the germane juxtaposition of traffic circles in Washington, DC, I’ve been thinking about how I take two completely disparate geographies and create similar styled maps. One idea is to take two of the tessellations I created for the Los Angeles Interchanges Series and create a double exposure highway interchange. Another possibility is to make a Supreme Illusion Supreme by overlaying the Pentagon on to the site of the World Trade Center. I’m not sure how it would look, but I think I’ll try making one of these maps in the near future.

View the Google Map of Scott Circle in Washington, DC.
View the Google Map of Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

View the rest of the details:


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.

View the rest of the details:


White House Peace
|| 3/13/2008 || 2:56 pm || Comments Off on White House Peace || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :White House Peace by Nikolas Schiller.

Similar to the Shanghai Map, this map uses Chinese characters as a decorative element. The source aerial photography of the White House was censored by the government before it was released to the public. I documented this about a year ago with my Lost Series project “The White House is off-limits to the public.” Unlike the Shanghai Map, I made a tessellation using the words for PEACE instead of placing the glyphs at the bottom. I was, however, thinking of revisiting this map in the near future and adding more text. As it is now, I think it’s somewhat plain, and deserves something else. I’m not sure what that ‘else’ is yet.

View the Google Map (which shows older imagery) of the White House.

View the rest of the details:


ordered last week: New Blaeu
|| 3/10/2008 || 9:25 pm || Comments Off on ordered last week: New Blaeu || ||

New Blaeu by Nikolas Schiller

Originally created last summer as “NOVA ET ACCVRATISSIMA TOTIVS TERRARVM ORBIS TABVLA [2007 Remix],” when this map was published in the December 14th issue of the Christian Science Monitor, the editors truncated the name and simply called it “New Blaeu.”

Last week I decided to update the map slightly by trimming the edges and doing some color correction. It’s being printed at 20″x16″ and preserved behind glass in in an ornate gold frame. I am also planning on framing some of the other antique maps I purchased recently to compliment this map. I think they’ll look really cool all hung together; the real old with the fake new.

View the other detail:


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.

View the rest of the details:


Washington + Dupont Circle Quilt
|| 3/2/2008 || 11:43 am || Comments Off on Washington + Dupont Circle Quilt || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Washington + Dupont Circle Quilt by Nikolas Schiller

I decided to switch things up a bit with today’s rendering. I have become very efficient with most of the processes used to create my maps, which both makes them standardized and sometimes a bit too similar to each other (while paradoxically being different geographies). This map and probably the next few maps are going to be slightly different.

In order to have the most recent maps of Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, and Washington Circle look similar to each other, I would take the first derivative tessellation and overlay it on top of the tessellation that I was constructing. By adjusting the transparency, I can overlay the circles directly on top of each other which makes the subsequent map look nearly identical.

Normally, I simply delete the original tessellation when I have the two lined up perfectly, however in today’s map I chose to not delete the other map. Instead, I adjusted the transparency of Dupont Circle to 51% to show both geographies at once. The result is something that I wasn’t expecting, but am quite pleased with the results. I can see myself using this process again. It’s like a double exposure…

View the Google Map of Washington Circle in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC.

View the Google Map of Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

View the rest of the details:


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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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come again!









The Lenz Project

Mandala Project

The Star Series

Abstract Series

Memory Series

Mother Earth Series
Mother Earth

Misc Renderings


+ 95 in 2008
+ 305 in 2007
+ 213 in 2006
+ 122 in 2005
+ 106 in 2004


- The Los Angeles Interchanges Series
- The Lost Series
- Terra Fermi
- Antique Map Mashups
- Google StreetView I.E.D.
- LOLmaps
- The Inaugural Map
- The Shanghai Map
- Ball of Destruction
- The Lenz Project - Maps at the Library of Congress
- Winner of the Everywhere Man Award


+ 2011
+ 2010
+ 2009
+ 2008
+ 2007
+ 2006
+ 2005
+ 2004