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Google FINALLY updates the imagery of Washington, DC and now you can kinda see the message on my rooftop
|| 1/21/2009 || 4:30 pm || Comments Off on Google FINALLY updates the imagery of Washington, DC and now you can kinda see the message on my rooftop || ||

Back in July of 2007 I found that Google was censoring the imagery of downtown Washington, DC. This discovery lead to an article that was featured on the front page of the Metro section of the Washington Post. In the time since, Google has not updated the imagery, even after the release of Street View for Washington, DC.

The other day they finally decided to update the imagery of Washington, DC. I believe they did this because there were millions of people coming to Washington for the inauguration and they would have been showing them outdated imagery on their maps. Now that the imagery has been updated, you can almost see the message on my rooftop that I installed in the summer of 2006. Since the imagery has a somewhat low spatial resolution, its slightly difficult to make out the words “No War,” and it kinda looks like “No W@R.” Below is the photograph that appeared on the front page of the Style Section of the Washington Post in March of 2007 which shows me standing next to the now-visible rooftop sign.


“The mapmaker on his Washington roof with a message that he hopes will someday be reflected in both government aerial photography and the art he creates from that imagery.” (Photo by Michael Williamson — The Washington Post)


Geospatial art created by exploiting search engine aggregation algorithms
|| 12/10/2008 || 6:22 pm || Comments Off on Geospatial art created by exploiting search engine aggregation algorithms || ||

The other day I noticed that there were literally hundreds of search engine results that contain a fictitious url to a page on my website that didn’t exist. It appears that Internet bots have exploited an issue with search engine aggregation algorithms to trick them into showing a bogus search result for a page that never existed on my website. Throughout the internet there are numerous pages that contain https://nikolasschiller.com/showthread.php?XXXXX and when people clicked on the bogus link they were brought to a 404 page. Last night I created a copy of this website’s splash page and renamed the file showthread.php. Now when people click on the fake link in the fraudulently created search engine result, they are brought to my website’s beautifully abstract splash page. Today I’ve been receiving all sorts of random visitors!



UPDATE – 12/13/08 – I’ve decided to change the page slightly and add the word FAIL to the landing page. The reason for this is because the person landing on the page failed to find what they were looking for.



Is the “search result sandwich” a flaw in Google’s custom search?
|| 12/6/2008 || 11:04 pm || Comments Off on Is the “search result sandwich” a flaw in Google’s custom search? || ||

Sometimes when people google something and visit my website because of the search result, I try the search again to see if my website’s placement has changed. I also like to see what other websites are nearby and possible related content. Last month Google added a new feature that allows users to customize their search results. It allows people to remove results from their queries and add notes to different search results. Last night I noticed that when I was logged into Google, the search results featuring my website would sometimes show up twice and in some cases they would sandwich a different search result. Notice in the screen grab above that my website is featured twice on either side of a different search result. For comparison purposes, below, you can see a screen grab of a search result when I’m not logged into Google. Of note is that my website still shows up twice, but it’s stacked and indented so that there is no search result sandwich. Is this a flaw in Google’s custom search? Or was it designed to do this?



Google Street View of Washington, DC suffers from out-dated imagery
|| 11/6/2008 || 5:53 pm || Comments Off on Google Street View of Washington, DC suffers from out-dated imagery || ||

As a cutesy election day surprise, Google announced the release of their Street View feature for the Google Maps of Washington, DC. For the last year and a half I’ve been waiting for Google Maps to include the city I live in, while at the same time planning my next installment of my geopolitical art project Google Street View IED , the first google bomb for Street View.

In June of 2007, around the time Street View was first released, Washington, DC’s imagery was “updated” with newer aerial photography from 2005. However, the central business district of Washington, DC continues to this day being shown using out-dated imagery from 2002, and the rest of the District is being shown using the newer imagery from September 2005. In the time since this”update”, even after I assisted in exposing this passive censorship in the Washington Post, the imagery has not been updated and because of this the new Street View feature suffers.

In the screen grab above you are being shown the massive parking lot known as City Center which was the site of the former convention center. The old convention center was imploded in December of 2004, which makes a gross mismatch. By using outdated imagery the convention center is still being shown on the Google Map, but the Street View imagery shows a completely different temporal view. The disturbing part of all of this is that the USGS imagery is completely available to anyone in the world to download. It’s already being used by Google Maps for the rest of Washington, DC and I’ve been using in my maps as well.

So, Google, when are you going to update your imagery? If its for security reasons, why release Street View? This provides far more “on the ground” information the aerial views profide. Please tell your content providers that the imagery of Washington, DC deserves an update so you can better serve your customers. Maybe you can use your new satellite?



Related Google Maps Entries:

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Pondering Digital Existentialism Through Query
|| 9/24/2008 || 3:29 pm || Comments Off on Pondering Digital Existentialism Through Query || ||

Screen grab of Yahoo’s search result (#9) for “Nikolas”

Having a eponymous website means that both my first & last name are combined to create the name for my website. The other day I decided to see where my first name (Nikolas) and my last name (Schiller) showed up in the search results of the three major search engines Google, MSN and Yahoo. The results are somewhat surprising.

As you’ll see below, “Nikolas” was ranked #8, #9, and #11 and “Schiller” is #31, #114, and #106 on Google, MSN, and Yahoo, respectively.

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One year later and Google Maps has still not updated DC
|| 7/23/2008 || 1:41 pm || Comments Off on One year later and Google Maps has still not updated DC || ||

One of the little plugins I installed on this WordPress blog was a link at the bottom of each post which shows what I had posted the year before. The other day I noticed that my research related to censorship of Washington, DC on Google Maps, which culminated into the lead article in the Metro section of the Washington Post had appeared. I decided to check out Google Maps to see if there had been any updates and to my non-surprise, there hadn’t been. All I can say is: “what gives?” DC residents are still looking at downtown Washington, DC from 6 years ago. People visiting the MSM of the American Indian are still seeing it under construction, the newly built dorms on GWU‘s campus are still not being shown, and the list goes on….. So when will the imagery be updated? When will DC residents get to enjoy the benefits of Street View? Google has office in DC to lobby elected officials, but they’ve chosen to keep imagery of their own office outdated. This doesn’t make sense to me.

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YouTube Has Chosen For You! – Digital Scrapbooking Explicit Bipartisanship
|| 6/28/2008 || 5:55 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Has Chosen For You! – Digital Scrapbooking Explicit Bipartisanship || ||

Last month I snail mailed a letter to YouTube citing the fact that their political page was being explicitly partisan and did not include any third party politicians running for president. I have yet to receive a written reply. Instead YouTube gave the page’s layout a makeover, but still left out 3rd party presidential candidates. To document this flagrant bipartisanship, I decided to take a screen shot every day I was on-line this month.

Below you’ll see the candidates YouTube has tacitly endorsed during the month of June:

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Face the (Corporate) Candidates on YouTube
|| 5/28/2008 || 1:54 pm || Comments Off on Face the (Corporate) Candidates on YouTube || ||

Today I wrote YouTube, LLC (owned by Google, Inc) the following letter:

Dear YouTube, LLC,

Your “Face the Candidates” section ( https://youtube.com/youchoose ) needs to be updated to include all presidential candidates. Currently American voters are not being shown all the candidates for president of the United States of America and this prevents your users from making an informed decision on what presidential candidate to vote for in November.

As a member of the Green Party of the United States, I find your explicit bipartisanship to be counter to your parent company’s corporate philosophy. The link to the “Face the Candidates” page is titled “YouChoose” but in reality it could be written “We’ve chosen for you,” because the web editors have unfairly excluded a presidential candidate.

Please include Cynthia McKinney’s campaign channel ( https://www.youtube.com/runcynthiarun ) to your “Face the Candidates” page because she is running for president and deserves the same placement as her democratic & republican party counterparts.

Sincerely,
Nikolas R. Schiller

I wrote this out of general frustration regarding how controlled the American political system is. Even though I voted for Cynthia McKinney in the Washington, DC primary and she’s now acquired the majority of Green Party delegates, there has been absolutely no national media coverage of her campaign (don’t believe me, check the Washington Post & New York Times websites). This type of American Blackout is unpatriotic, nondemocratic, and downright wrong and with Google’s “do no evil” corporate philosophy in place, this letter is an attempt to challenge their web editors to do the right thing and include all presidential candidates regardless of political affiliation. Will they change the page? I doubt it, but I know that I’ve made an effort, albeit a small one.



The maps on Google Analytics suffer from Washington, DC’s exclusion
|| 4/4/2008 || 12:58 pm || Comments Off on The maps on Google Analytics suffer from Washington, DC’s exclusion || ||

The other day I mentioned how Google Charts API includes small maps but leaves Washington, DC off the map. Last night when I was looking at my newly installed Google Analytics interface (above) and I discovered another reason why Washington, DC should be included: without including Washington, DC, the map on the Google Analytics page is lacking a means to show visitors from the nation’s capital. This means all webmasters around the world who use Google’s Analytics are not being able to effectively analyze their data on the map of the United States because not every country/territory/region on the continental mainland is being shown.

From the screen grab above:
A. There is 61.4 square miles of Country/Territory missing here
B. If Regions are being listed, why is one being excluded from the map above?
C. District of Columbia is not a Region nor are any of the States listed below it


As I wrote before, Google can add Washington, DC to the lower portion of their maps in the area where Alaska and Hawaii are not shown to scale. While Washington, DC may be denied statehood, it has more inhabitants than the state of Wyoming and should be given the same opportunity to be shown on the map of the United States. Otherwise, like the Google Analytics screen grab above, the maps will continue to be incomplete and inaccurate.



Google Charts API now includes small maps, but leaves out Washington, DC.
|| 3/24/2008 || 11:53 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Since DC is not a state, Google decided to completely leave out the nation’s capital from it’s new Google Docs feature that allows the creation of small, static maps. This cartographic error could have easily been fixed by simply adding a small arrow to the DC diamond and labeling it in the Atlantic Ocean as “Washington, DC” in the USA map.

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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!