The Daily Render


A Digital Scrapbook for the Past, Present, and Future


Abstract George W. Bush
|| 10/31/2005 || 8:06 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 10,000 X 7500 :

On Valentines Day I made this for good ‘o GW, and for Halloween I made him something a bit more abstract.

#UPDATE## 2/16/08 — added background

This was the last map I made using the 2002 USGS aerial photography of the area around the White House. By combining a United States Air Force high-resolution publicity photograph of George W. Bush, I created a unique tessellation that I overlaid on to the surface of a complex 3-D object. In the background I used the same tessellation but placed the design into in a kaleidoscopic pattern similar to the More Quilt Projection style. The result is both eerie and visually engaging. Made on Halloween, it could be taken as an abstract Halloween mask, but when viewed as a human interest map, it becomes slightly more twisted. At the center, below the obligatory American flag lapel pins, is a mirrored image of a visually redacted White House. This is the same legacy aerial photography that was used in the wildly popular Inaugural Map I published in January of 2005. This was also the first imagery of Washington, DC used by Google Maps when it was released a couple months later. It was soon updated after people complained that the White House (and the Old Executive Office Building & Treasury Department) should not be censored.

Last year when the USGS released the 2005 Washington, DC aerial photography, the entire area around the White House was completely redacted. Shortly thereafter, I created “The White House Is Off-Limits To The Public,” an interactive geovisual environment, to showcase the egregious amount of censorship that was exercised by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Google still has not updated their servers with newest public domain imagery of downtown Washington, DC….

View Details:


My Eulogy to Rosa Parks
|| || 1:17 am || Comments Off on My Eulogy to Rosa Parks || ||

I just returned from the grounds of the Capitol. I brought a megaphone and a sheet of paper with the eulogy written on it. I rode my bike down to the grounds and made my way to the front of the line. Moving toward the end of the line, I soapboxed my eulogy to the captive audience of mourners about 10 times to well over 2,000 people.

this is what I said:

Fellow mourners, as you pass by Rosa Parks laying in state, remember that the struggle for civil rights is not over. You the residents of Washington, DC are still second-class citizens who are denied the representational equality given to every other American.

As you walk into the Capitol, a seat of government in which you are still forced to sit in the back of, remember her struggle and think of ways you can carry the torch she lit for us long ago.

The feedback I received was 95% supportive with people staying “That’s right,” “Power to the people,” “Statehood for DC,” “Keep up the fight,” and “Thank You.” About mid-way through the queue, I received a complaint from a woman wearing a hajab saying that this was time for remembrance not a political agenda. I respectfully disagreed, but thanked her for sharing her thoughts with me. Aside from her, no else voiced annoyances and I believe my eulogy was well received. This act was very moving for me, by speaking out before those mourning her, her actions lived through me. As I rode back home I cried as I thought about the civil rights struggle and the institutional complacency that exists today.

The quote from Martin Luther King came to my mind…

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

I glided home and wrote this. And this.

Star Series – BETA
|| 10/30/2005 || 11:46 am || Comments Off on Star Series – BETA || ||

Beta release of the Star Series Image Overlay KML file for Google Earth.
Click here to download the zipped up KML file

Unzip the file, drag starseries.kml file to your desktop, and double click on it to lauch Google Earth

Once loaded into Google Earth, the layer will download the maps from the Star Series hosted on my website. On the Places Panel the folder titled “Star Series” will be placed. Clicking on the triangle next to the folder you can expand and collapse the contents of the folder. By clicking on the “Send Comment” link, the blog entry in which the map is referenced will load up in the Google Earth web browser allowing you to leave a comment on my blog. By adjusting the transparency of the map overlay, you can find the area on the ground which was as a guide.

The Alpha release will have icons instead of overlays to facilitate the navigation of my maps. Within each icon will be a link for the overlay of the map.

Known Issues:
Due to large size of the maps, Google Earth might slow down considerably after they are loaded.
Google Earth’s browser is based off of Internet Explorer and my website does not show up as how I’d like it to.

Please provide me with feedback!

Taking Google Earth to a new level
|| 10/29/2005 || 10:21 am || Comments Off on Taking Google Earth to a new level || ||

Today I’ve begun geocoding my maps in Google Earth. Using the Image Overlay tool, I’ve diligently tried to match my renderings with the aerial/satellite image displayed in Google Earth. In most cases I am using the same imagery that Google Earth is and in other cases, like DC, I am placing my maps (derived from older USGS imagery) over the newer imagery. With each map I add to Google Earth, I also embed a link “Send Comment” to each respective blog entry for added interactivity. I’ve completed a few of my series and the results are awesome. You can now fly around the world and discover my maps…

I am making two KML versions for Google Earth because I have already run into a problem with using the Image Overlay feature– I’ve made too many maps! After loading all of the maps, Google Earth slows down to a crawl. The work around is to make one layer with basic icons without the image overlay and have the map load within the icon’s window with a link to it’s respective Image Overlay file. This prevents the Google Earth from loading all of the maps at once, and it allows me to maintain a comment link to my blog. What I hope to have in the end is 2 master KML files- one personal & one for the web, and then produce an Image Overlay KML file for each map for the web. The personal file used for presentations and the web will be for what was described above.

To finish off this task, I now need to go back through my blog and add the Image Overlay KLM file for each respective blog entry (to make discovery bi-directional, as in you can find the map first on my website or within Google Earth). I will add a footer, “View this Map in Google Earth,” and have the Image Overlay KML link.

First up will be the master Image Overlay file from which I can extract the individual KML files for the blog entries, and then lastly make the layer for the public. The public layer is going to take the longest, but it will be the most useful. This all sounds like a lot of work, and I do believe it is, but results will be rewarding- I will have taken Google Earth to my level (wherever that may be).

|| 10/28/2005 || 7:45 am || Comments Off on LOC G & M || ||

So last night I spent about 3 hours preparing an e-mail to the head of acquisitions at the Library of Congress Geography & Mapping Division. It outlines why I should have a special collection and I think I provide some compelling reasons as to why my maps would be of interest to the library. On the LOC website states:

Division’s collecting goals include the acquisition of items and collections that:

broaden and enhance worldwide geographic and thematic coverage
fill identified gaps in existing collections and map series and upgrade the condidtion and quality
document the work of distinguished cartographers and map publishers, particularly American
document and illustrate historical events
illustrate the purely aesthetic value of cartographic products
illustrate the technical process of map making, including the variety of printing techniques
document and illustrate developments in thematic cartography
document non-Western/non-European cartographic traditions
support the collections and reference resource requirements of other areas of the Library.

I went through each applicable line above and explain how my maps qualified. I have not sent the e-mail yet. If I do I’ll bury it in this posting at a later date….

So why the Library of Congress? why not? I have painstakingly backed up every map 2 times and I think the LOC would be one of the best places to archive these maps. I don’t have the exact number, I lost track a long time ago, but my guess is that I’ve made around 200 maps in the last year and a half. At last check, I had backed up about 650 gigs worth of CDs and DVDs- make that 1.3 terabytes of data…..Terra….that’s Latin for land and well that also happens to be the same subject matter my maps employ. Nice duplicity :-)

Civic Footprint
|| 10/27/2005 || 6:59 pm || Comments Off on Civic Footprint || ||

I was reading Chicagoist thinking about the annual meeting this winter, and I stumbled on a website called Civic Footprint. It’s ties together maps (albeit ugly) with Police Districts, Wards, Community Areas, County Districts, State Representative Districts, State Senate Districts, and Congressional Districts.

I’d really like to see this type of website replicated because it currently only works off a geo-database populated with Chicago area data. The concept of this website (below the fold) is an excellent way to empower people politically. It gives visitors the ability to become aware of their elected officials. Created by the progressive Center for Neighborhood Technology, I was suprised to find out who the sponsor was….


post-modern cartography
|| || 8:41 am || Comments Off on post-modern cartography || ||

While searching for information on “post-modern cartography” I found this quote:

“Today, ‘post-modern’ cartography gives more attention to other aspects of the mapping and map-making process…. i.e. that the map is a subjective, not an objective, representation, and that artistry has a role to play in such a representation.”

“The map of the future will almost certainly not be drawn on paper”

Dorling, D., & Fairbairn D. (1997) Mapping: Ways of Representing the World. Addison Wesley Longman Ltd.

I guess I was right to label myself a post-modern cartographer in the grant. I just wish I would have used this quote instead of the UNESCO quote. Oh well….

Finally I got to meet Cindy Sheehan
|| 10/26/2005 || 2:57 pm || Comments Off on Finally I got to meet Cindy Sheehan || ||

So after dropping off the grant at the DCCAH, I decided to ride my bike down E st and I rolled in on the presidental dragnet. GWB was speaking at the J.W. Marriot and the entire section of 15th St. was closed off and the police were not letting people on the sidewalks on 15th. There were about 150 people total standing on either side of the corner of E & 15th. As we waited for Bush’s motorcade to emerge, I announced to the 30 or so folks around me that I was going to boo the president and I suggested people join me. One of the employees from the Waldorf chatted with me and told me a joke:

So GWB left the White House and walked by a woman with a litter of tiny puppies and she had a big sign saying “Free Republican Puppies.” Bush remarks on how much he’d like to bring them home, but there are already too many dogs, but he was going to ask Laura. The next day as Bush walked by the puppies again the lady had a new sign that said “Free Democratic Puppies.” Bush stops in his tracks and asks her, “Why did you change the sign?” The lady remarks, “The puppies opened their eyes.”

I smiled and laughed…… a few minutes later the motorcade emerges from the parking garage. As the first limo drives by I start to boo as loud as I can. In the second limo I see Georgie waving to me and the crowd facing his window. I continue to boo and he remains smiling & waving and drives on by…. I was the only person to boo and it really made the moment special. Last night I started my first rendering with George Bush & an aerial photograph of the White House and today I saw him.

It gets better… I ride back over to the White House to see how the festivities were going. As I was sitting on my bike, up walks Cindy Sheehan and the cameras flocked to her. After about 20 minutes, she engaged the lone freeper who had a sign that says “Saddam Loves Cindy.” It was really fun to watch. During an interview someone asked her about Puerto Rico and she said something about “the 51st State” and I quipped aloud “That should be DC,” and everyone cracked up. After about 30 minutes of hanging out in the park, I decided to head back to my house but as I was riding out, I noticed Cindy was hanging out with Gael Murphy of Codepink and decided to roll by and tell her “Keep up the good work Cindy,” and she thanked me. Shortly after that I rolled on home to write this.

This evening I am going back to the White House for the vigil.

|| 10/25/2005 || 12:16 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

I just completed the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities “Young Artists” Grant! I am going to submit it later today in person at the DCCAH office. I can’t wait to get rid of it! I’ve been diligently working on it for the last two weeks and I’m ready to be on my way.

Basically, its a proposal to spend $2407.08 on 34 maps and 34 frames, a website with more server space for, and 2500 4X6 flyers for promotion. The hook is that there will be one map created for each Ward in DC and it will be printed 3 times (24 maps total). One map will be sold or donated to a party in each respective Ward. One map will be donated to the Library of Congress‘s Geography & Mapping Division. And the last map I am keeping to use for gallery exhibits. The remaining 10 maps will be from maps I’ve already created or new maps that do not use imagery of Washington, DC.

I’d like to think I have a pretty good chance of getting the funding, but for some reason I have this fear in the back of my head I am screwing something up or leaving something out. Oddly, back in April I submitted a roughly 3 million dollar National Science Foundation proposal for work, and I didn’t get as nervous as I am now. Weird. I guess its because I’ve spent so much time working on this proposal, or maybe its because I know how much $2400 would help out my professional development. Regardless, my fingers & toes are crossed, and if you are reading this, cross yours as well ;-)

White House Mandala
|| 10/24/2005 || 7:13 am || Comments Off on White House Mandala || ||

: rendered at 12,000 X 12,000 :

I fixed the lighting problem that plagued my last two renderings and the result is probably one of my favorite mandalas yet (my favorite is still the Ballwin mandala). I was able to fix the lighting issue by pulling the light source farther away from the imagery and then making the light source brighter. The result is more diffusion of the light without the center being bleached out. If you look at the rendering details below, you can see the the center of the rendering is the Ellipse and without realizing it, I made an circle out of the Ellipse :-)

rendering 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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The Lenz Project

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