Strictly Spatial #34

17 July 2017

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In this issue of Strictly Spatial, we check out Snapchat’s new ‘Snap Map’ feature, we look at how Google is increasing the quality of street view images and we investigate trends in the amount of OpenStreetMap data available around the world. Finally,Winter is here…we look at how the Game of Thrones maps were created ahead of the upcoming season. Enjoy!

Over the years, Snapchat has increasingly ramped up its location technology services. Up until now that has been mostly limited to filters depicting the location where images are taken. They have recently released ‘Snap Map’, a service allowing users to see the location of their friends wherever they are in the world. The service is so detailed that a person’s character can even automatically show the activity they are doing at the time! Several parameters, including location, time of day and the speed that they are travelling are used to edit an individual’s ‘Actionmoji’ (for example they might be shown in an airplane!). You can read more here.34b

The quality of google street view images is not always the best. Often the images are distorted, washed out or otherwise affected by the weather conditions at the time they are taken. Google has come up with a machine learning based solution to this. The ‘Creatism’ system can enhance street view images by adjusting saturation and artificially modifying the lighting. You can check out some examples of enhanced landscapes here!.

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Each year, OpenStreetMap user Martin Raifer releases a visualisation of the spread of data on the platform around the world. The above map shows the density of data per square metre. The hotspots on the map unsurprisingly include the United States, Europe and Japan (New Zealand also does well!). Remote areas in Australia, Canada and Russia are visualised to indicate much less data. This website allows users to see the spread of data since 2014, with layers showing the difference between years.

The seventh season of the Game of Thrones is making its global premier on screens around the world this week. Fittingly, we thought we would take a look at how the stunning maps of the Game of Thrones world were created. Fantasy map drawer Jonathon Roberts was tasked with the job, basing his work on the Novel series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ which the TV series is based on. 12 maps were required over a three-month period, each two feet by three feet with very high expectations of detail. The resulting maps are simply outstanding! You can read more here. 

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 That’s all for this issue of Strictly Spatial, make sure you keep in touch through Facebook, @InterpretGS, LinkedIn or email!