Strictly Spatial #5

11 December 2015

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Welcome to December, where has 2015 gone? If you’re sick of always using Web Mercator as your mapping projection, want to get a better picture of climate change and its impact on a warmer future, or you’re interested in the quickly growing field of autonomous vehicles, then this issue of Strictly Spatial has what you are looking for. Check out these and other GIS related stories from the past fortnight below.  

 Build a 3D Virtual World – Mapillary

A crowdsourced startup called Mapillary are changing the way we use our smartphones in regards to virtual mapping. In 2014 Mapillary released a free smartphone app which is similar to Google Street View using crowdsourced images uploaded from smartphones. This has been progressed and now the phone app allows users to pan down to see a 3D, birds-eye view of the earth. The user-submitted photos have been stitched together to create a 3D landscape of the planet, built from over 40 million images.

 Atlas for a Changing Planet

Esri has produced a collection of story maps focused around climate change, and adapting to a warmer future. The collection bio describes maps and geographic information systems as being primary tools for “scientists, policymakers, planners and activists to visualize and understand our rapidly changing world”. The stunning visuals are accompanied by some detailed information, resulting in a powerful collection of spatial information outlining perhaps the biggest issue of our generation.

 Mapping the World’s Largest Volcano

Tamu Massif in the Pacific Ocean, is the world’s largest volcano. National Geographic have been begun making 3D maps which aim to offer the clearest look at the fully submerged volcano which is the size of New Mexico. The maps will be used to determine how the massive volcano formed, and unravel some of the mystery surrounding its structure.

 Escape from Mercator

Mapzen is a neat GIS blog which has published a short article based around the pros and cons of the ever-popular Web Mercator map projection. The article explores some different tools and projections with some great images and graphics to help readers understand what is being described.

 Driverless Cars with Nokia’s Here

Autonomous driving (driverless cars) are fast becoming a practical reality as spatial information, detailed maps, and cameras and sensors become increasingly powerful and complex. Google have long been known to have driverless cars which run off Google Maps and Street View data, however Nokia have entered into the race to bring autonomous driving into the mainstream with their new mapping business; Nokia Here. Much like Google’s driverless vehicles, Here’s autonomous vehicles are equipped with cameras and sensors on the roof which paint a picture of their surroundings.