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Google Maps: Add the Contour Interval to the Legend of your Terrain maps
|| 8/6/2009 || 3:56 pm || 5 Comments Rendered || ||

Nearly every printed topographic map I’ve ever looked at has the contour interval, otherwise known as the distance between contour lines, listed in the legend. Depending on the scale of the map, the contour interval ranges from 1 foot to hundreds of feet between each successive contour line. The contour interval allows the map reader to instantly know the relative steepness & flatness of the topography in the map at one quick glance. Because of this crucial information, a topographic map is considered incomplete when it does not disclose this information to the reader.

Enter the Terrain feature of Google Maps. Released to the public in November of 2007, the contour lines were subsequently added in April of 2008. I hadn’t really given the feature much use until last week when I was planning my weekend excursion to the Shenandoah mountains. I was trying to figure out the altitude variation on my friends property by finding where their property line started & ended and calculating the elevation change. Since their property lies on the side of a mountain, I wanted to know the altitude at the bottom of the property and the altitude of the highest portion of the property, and subtract the difference to find the total elevation variance.

What I found out instead was that Terrain function of Google Maps was lacking the contour interval declaration in the legend. As with all their maps, the lower left-hand corner showed the units of distance on the map, but was missing the topographical information provided by the contour interval declaration.

In lieu of ever getting a response from Google Maps after previous queries, I decided to send a tweet to Google Maps:

Screen grab of my tweet to Google Maps

I wasn’t really expecting a response, but a couple hours later I received this response on Twitter:

+ MORE



YouTube Video: Last Weekend in 25 Video Clips
|| 8/5/2009 || 12:39 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

I made this YouTube video yesterday evening after I downloaded all the photos and video I took from last weekend’s excursion to the to the Shenandoah mountains. The 25 video clips are played in sequential order, starting with me getting into my friend’s vegetable oil-powered Mercedes Benz, driving out of Washington, DC, driving through the country, seeing a spider eat a moth, lights projected on trees, a spider with eggs crawling through the grass, chasing a butterfly among lilies (probably my favorite scene), insects devouring a large dragonfly, a few clips of the band Stripmall Ballads performing, caterpillar at night, lightrope on a rock, an American Goldfinch bathing in a creek in the middle of the road, and driving back home.

All in all, I had a great time. I just wish I still wasn’t tired from hiking up and down the length of the property!



I was on today’s 5pm newscast of WJLA ABC 7 concerning the 80 recent car break-ins & burglaries in my neighborhood
|| 8/4/2009 || 7:14 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Click to watch on WLJA ABC7

This morning after I returned home from picking up my morning beverage, I was approached by Jennifer Donelan, a reporter for WJLA ABC7, who was doing a story about the recent up tick in crime in my neighborhood. She asked if I’d be willing to be interviewed and, surprisingly, I made the edit and show up about 50 seconds into the segment.

About a month ago, at probably the height of the car break-ins, I conceived the idea of doing a photo series of nothing but broken glass on the street & sidewalk. It seemed that nearly every day I would walk by a car with a smashed window and I felt compelled to document this travesty. But alas, I never seemed to have my camera with me when I needed it and the concept has since fallen by the wayside.


Related Crime Entries:

+ MORE



[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Five
|| 8/3/2009 || 11:44 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 900 X 600 :
Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt by Nikolas R. Schiller

The last two maps I created for this commission feature identical tessellations of the area around the Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland, but shown at two different spatial scales.


: rendered at 900 X 600 :
Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt by Nikolas R. Schiller

Click here to read more about the commissioned map & rendering series here.
Click here to view the Google Map of Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland.


Related Entries:
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation One
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Two
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Three
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Four
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Five
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt
Photo of the Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt Printed on Polyester Fabric



[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Four
|| 8/2/2009 || 12:00 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 900 X 600 :
Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt by Nikolas R. Schiller

These two maps feature identical tessellations of the area around the Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland, but shown at two different spatial scales.


: rendered at 900 X 600 :
Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt by Nikolas R. Schiller

Click here to read more about the commissioned map & rendering series here.
Click here to view the Google Map of Sandy Spring Friends School in Maryland.


Related Entries:
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation One
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Two
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Three
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Four
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School – Tessellation Five
[Commissioned Map] Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt
Photo of the Sandy Spring Friends School Quilt Printed on Polyester Fabric



Growing a Jaloro plant on my back deck – Part Four
|| 8/1/2009 || 12:00 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photo taken on July 22nd, 2009

This photo series is showcasing the Jalaro plant I’m growing on my 3rd floor balcony. This final part of the series shows the 23 peppers that I harvested the other day. While I wouldn’t say they are super hot, they definitely add both color and spice to my dishes.


Click here to read more about the series.


Related Entries:
Growing a Jaloro plant on my back deck – Part One
Growing a Jaloro plant on my back deck – Part Two
Growing a Jaloro plant on my back deck – Part Three
Growing a Jaloro plant on my back deck – Part Four
Growing a Jaloro plant on my back deck – Part Five





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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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  • thank you,
    come again!