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The Gershman Y Quilt
|| 3/8/2010 || 3:27 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
The Gershman Y Quilt by Nikolas Schiller

The first map in this series uses the resampled aerial photography that was republished in 2006 laid out in a Hexagon Quilt Projection. Aside from the Gershman Y, this map contains the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and the Suzanne Roberts Theater.

The subsequent maps in this series will all be derived from this map.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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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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Harborside Quilt #3
|| 2/19/2010 || 1:45 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Harborside Quilt #3 by Nikolas Schiller

This final edition is derived from sampled imagery from the previous two renderings. I chose the layout for this version based on the beautiful geometric design that is created at the center of the map. These two recursive samplings have created an almost crystalline map of the area.

View the Google Map of Oakland Habour.


Here’s another YouTube video that shows Harborside Health Center on KTVU:


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Harborside Quilt #2
|| 2/18/2010 || 1:45 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Harborside Quilt #2 by Nikolas Schiller

This version of the map is derived from sampled imagery from the previous map to create this Octagon Quilt Projection map of Oakland. The recursive sampling employed in this map creates a more geometric geography.

View the Google Map of Oakland Habour.


Here’s another YouTube video that shows Harborside Health Center on CNN:


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Harborside Quilt
|| 2/17/2010 || 1:45 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Harborside Quilt by Nikolas Schiller

This week I am traveling to the West Coast to do research on the medical cannabis industry. One of the places I hope to tour is Harborside Health Center, which is considered the best dispensary in the United States.

I was curious to find out where the facility was located in Oakland and upon downloading the imagery, I realized that it’s location has all the ingredients for an interesting map: a highway, a harbor, and the aerial photography is crisp and unpixilated.

View the Google Map of Oakland Habour. This map uses the same imagery that Google is currently using.


Here’s a YouTube video that shows Harborside Health Center on CNN:


: detail :

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51 Random Banners Now Greet Visitors
|| 12/26/2009 || 1:21 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Banner Graphic Featuring A Detail from The Vicissitude of the Seasons Explained

New banner graphic featuring my name written in Hebrew over
The Vicissitude of the Seasons Explained” from Bowles 1780 Map of the World

On Christmas night I got a random Facebook message from a Peruvian friend of mine who recently moved to Israel. After we were done chatting, I asked the same request I’ve asked a few other times to friends in distant lands, “Can you translate my name into ____Hebrew____?” A few moments later I was sent the basis for these six new banners. Now my name is now randomly displayed in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Chinese, and Russian.

Below are the rest of the new banner graphics hyperlinked to their original blog entries:

Swampoodle Quilt #2
Banner Graphic Featuring Swampoodle Quilt No.2

Racine Quilt #2
Banner Graphic Featuring Racine Quilt No. 2

West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt
Banner Graphic Featuring West Sahara Lake Circles Quilt

Vassar Quilt Refraction
Banner Graphic Featuring Vassar Quilt Refraction

University of Southern California Quilt
Banner Graphic Featuring University of Southern California Quilt

Related Entries:



Washington Monument Quilt #2
|| 10/22/2009 || 5:22 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
Washington Monument Quilt #2 by Nikolas Schiller

When the 2005 USGS aerial photography was released to the public in the spring of 2007 there were a few places that were censored through pixilation. On this blog I documented how the White House was censored. I documented how the U.S. Capitol was censored. And I even experimented with a QR-Code to show that the Washington Monument was censored. After doing some exploration within the newly obtained 2008 Washington, DC orthophotography, I discovered that the White House and the U.S. Capitol are STILL censored.

However, now that the construction of the new visitors center at the Washington Monument has been completed, which is the reason, I am told, why the Washington Monument was originally censored in the 2005 imagery, the imagery of the monument is now available without pixilation. Moreover, its the exact same imagery that is being used on Google Maps. While I expect to showcase the censorship of the White House & U.S. Capitol in some future entries, I decided to make make my first map of this new dataset of the Washington Monument because I wasn’t able to make it using the last batch of imagery.

To construct this map, I first rendered a full-size Hexagon Quilt Projection map using the original imagery, then sampled a portion of the resulting map, and used the sampled portion to create this derivative map. I chose to sample the portion in the first map because of two underlying aspects of the map. First, I really liked the way the shadows of the Washington Monument combined together. Secondly, I liked the way the apex of the Washington Monument was combined (see detail below) to create a pyramid. Over the years I have enjoyed playing with the notion of aerial & architectural chiaroscuro, as in, using shadows generated by buildings within the original aerial photography to create a new, larger shadow. This map embodies this ongoing design element perfectly.

View the Google Map of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

: detail :

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The 2008 Washington, DC Orthophotography
|| 10/21/2009 || 4:30 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Screen grab from https://www.nikolasschiller.com/blog/wp-admin/post-new.phpGraphic Converter showing the entire dataset of the 2008 Washington, DC Orthophotography

A couple weeks ago when I was writing the entry about crime in my neighborhood, I discovered that the DC Government’s Citizen Atlas was using aerial orthophotography taken in 2008. I subsequently checked the USGS website to see if they had obtained the dataset, but they were still using the imagery taken in 2005. I decided to e-mail one of my contacts in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. I asked if the dataset was available to the public or if it was going to be ported over to the USGS’s distribution system, and to my chagrin, the offer was extended to mail me a copy of the entire dataset. About a week later I received the CD in the mail and today I started to explore all the brand new imagery that I now have at my disposal! I now have the ability to use aerial orthophotography of Washington, DC taken in 2002, 2005, and 2008.

I first must note that the roughly 67 gigs worth of aerial orthophotography of Washington, DC was all compressed using the Mr. SID file format and was able fit on one CD-Rom. While that level of digital compression is pretty insane (80 to 1), I still have my reservations about it. Almost two years ago I wrote about how Mr. SID has been the bane of my cartographic explorations, and well, not much has changed since then. There is still only one software program for Macintosh that I am aware of that allows users to uncompress the imagery locked away in the proprietary file format, GraphicConverter X for PowerPC-Macs.

Worse, I am having difficulty extracting the imagery that I want to use! The screen grab above shows the selection screen that pops up after I open the Mr. SID file containing the 2008 Washington, DC orthophotography. At first I was really excited that I could quickly and easily draw a box around the portion of the city I wanted to extract. However, after testing it out, I found that there is some latent bug in either the program or the file.

After I draw a box around the area I wish to extract, Graphic Converter spends a few moments decompressing the portion of the file, then it opens up the imagery. There is just one catch: the box I draw does not correspond to the imagery that opens up! For example, if I draw a box around the White House, a few moments later I am looking at imagery from Woodley Park neighborhood. After experimenting for about an hour, I discovered that the imagery is being extracted from somewhere northwest of where I am selecting. This is frustrating to say the least! Instead of quickly and easily obtaining the exact imagery that I want, I now have to do a series of trial & error selections in order to obtain exactly what I am looking for.

Moreover, due the level of compression used in Mr. SID, the uncompressed imagery contains small artifacts that diminish the overall quality of the original aerial orthophotography. To visualize this, imagine for a second that you decided to save a photograph using JPEG compression, but instead of selecting a high number (less compression) you select a very low number (high compression). When you look at the file that you saved, you can see little bits of digital static in the image. These artifacts are the result of high levels of digital compression in the Mr. SID file (80 to 1) and while its not excessive, it is present. I prefer uncompressed TIFFs because they generally look better.

The only way I’ve figure out how to reduce this annoyance is to actually reduce the size of the source aerial photography and in doing so, I’m reducing the overall spatial resolution of the original aerial photography. Released at approximately 15 centimeters per pixel, the imagery is so sharp that you can see people walking on the ground and be able to identify types of cars, but any reduction in size results in less precision and detail.

Nonetheless, I am very excited to start making more maps of Washignton, DC using the 2008 imagery! I look forward to exploring the nuances in development that have taken place over the years. I am also very appreciative of the DC GIS Program for providing me the new imagery free of charge. Thank You!



5 More Random Banners Now ‘Greek’ Visitors
|| 9/19/2009 || 3:47 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Banner Graphic Featuring I-35W Bridge Quilt #2

New banner graphic featuring my name written in Greek over I-35W Bridge Quilt #2

About a month ago I had a random friend request on Facebook from a woman named Athina who lives in Greece. Opting to inflate my friend count over potential security fears, I added her without question. A couple weeks later I visited her Facebook page and noticed that she has a blog that was written completely in the Greek language. I had just posted my latest batch of banners using the Cyrillic alphabet, so I sent her an e-mail asking if she’d be interested in translating my name into Greek. She obliged and today I made 5 more banners to be randomly displayed.

Greek is one of the languages I’ve always wanted to learn. I spent some time in high school taking Latin, which I have since found to be an invaluable contribution to my continued exploration of history. But Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the Eastern Mediterranean around the time of the birth of Christ, has always fascinated me. The Septuagint, a 3rd century B.C. Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, used this dialect of the language. And while modern Greek is considerably different in many aspects from it’s thousand+ year-old counterpart, I would still like to learn both or at least start getting my mind around the alphabet.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t return the cultural exchange for my friend Athina who did the translation for me. She owns a yacht charter company called Stamatis Yachting, which offers a wide variety of yachts that can take you & your friends around the various Greek islands. They also have skippers that can be contracted so you don’t have to know how to sail in order to experience the joys of sailing on the Mediterranean. If you are planning on a trip to Greece in the near future, please do not hesitate to contact her about chartering one of their yachts.

Below are the rest of the new banner graphics hyperlinked to their original blog entries:

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Bright Felon: Autobiography And Cities By Kazim Ali Is Now Available
|| 9/1/2009 || 6:52 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||



This groundbreaking, trans-genre work—part detective story, part literary memoir, part imagined past—is intensely autobiographical and confessional. Proceeding sentence by sentence, city by city, and backwards in time, poet and essayist Kazim Ali details the struggle of coming of age between cultures, overcoming personal and family strictures to talk about private affairs and secrets long held. The text is comprised of sentences that alternate in time, ranging from discursive essay to memoir to prose poetry. Art, history, politics, geography, love, sexuality, writing, and religion, and the role silence plays in each, are its interwoven themes. Bright Felon is literally “autobiography” because the text itself becomes a form of writing the life, revealing secrets, and then, amid the shards and fragments of experience, dealing with the aftermath of such revelations. Bright Felon offers a new and active form of autobiography alongside such texts as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, and Etel Adnan’s In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country.



From the Book:

You wouldn’t think I would have wanted a beacon. Rather to find myself in the wilderness on my own.

But I did, I always did.

Could there have been someone else like me, not one thing not another, barely able to choose.

A poet, a Muslim, and of a particular persuasion.

When I knew someone like me I barely knew him and we couldn’t bring ourselves to speak of the one thing we needed to speak to each other about.

Silence stretched between us taut as sin.

In 2004 I moved with Marco down the river to Beacon, NY.

Named for the signal fires placed on top of each mountain in chain running from New York City to Albany.

So if either city fell to the British the insurgents at the other end would know about it.

I placed signal fires up and down each street, so anxious I was to belong somewhere.

—From the chapter “Beacon”



Endorsements:

Bright Felon will steal your heart and outrage your poetics. Part memoir, part trip book, part literary discourse, there is in it an urgent sense of a life lived in words. The tale is one of both innocence and experience. Rigorous, romantic, experimental, true, and yet mysterious, it is a book for the ages.” —Laura Moriarty, author of A Semblance: Selected and New Poems, 1975–2007

“Kazim Ali writes in Bright Felon a prose shaped by the various cities he has lived and loved in. This is a book that is so much more than memoir or autobiography. It is embodied and questioning and it carries through its politics a grace and generosity. —Juliana Spahr, author of Fuck You, Aloha, I Love You



KAZIM ALI is the author of two books of poetry, The Far Mosque (2004) and The Fortieth Day (2008). He is an assistant professor of creative writing at Oberlin College and teaches in the low-residency MFA program of the University of Southern Maine. He is one of the founding editors of Nightboat Books.



The text above was copied from the website of book distributor, University Press of New England



Below is a detail from my map Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridge Quilt, which is featured on the cover of the book:

Detail of Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Quilt


Related New York City Entries:

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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 QUILT PROJECTION::

Square
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Diamond
diamond

Hexagon
hexagon

Octagon
octagon

Dodecagon
Dodecagon

Beyond
beyond

::OTHER PROJECTIONS::

The Lenz Project
Lenz

Mandala Project
Mandala

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abstract

Memory Series
Memory

Mother Earth Series
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Misc Renderings
Misc

::POPULAR MAPS::

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  • thank you,
    come again!