Monday, September 11, 2006

Google Earth

If you visit my website - gttavisions.com - and look at the route maps for the new routes I am proposing, you might notice that the images have been created using Google Earth. While the software is probably the best free GIS software available, it's not perfect.

Google Earth uses satellite photos to generate an electronic map of the world, allowing you to see your community with excellent resolution. You won't be counting the ants in the ant hill, but you can clearly see things as (relatively) small as the lines painted on the roads. But, like I said, it's not perfect.
  • Some of the photos are old - for at least two years after the engineering building at Ryerson was built, the site still appeared as a parking lot.
  • Some of the photos have discolouration - apparently, the waters near Woodbine Racetrack run red like blood.
  • Some areas are not yet in high resolution - Long Branch is one area, which is odd, as most of rural Caledon is in high resolution.
  • A phenomenon called map shear - Some satellite photos are not perfectly aligned with the photos next to them - even as much as several hundred meters in some cases.
The good news is that Google is continually updating the software, and as they do, I will be updating my route maps to make sure that the lines I've drawn are actually on roads, and not through buildings (currently, I have VIVA Purple running through the bedroom section of Ikea). It will be a slow process, but in the end, it will result in a much more detailed explanation of where my proposed transit routes will run. I also hope to make them available for download, so that anyone who wishes can take a closer look, and even do some armchair transit planning.

You can download Google Earth at (surprise surprise) Google Earth's website.

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