eighteen or so
Year 2014 I upload to youtube for the very first time. I am drawing.
In Isaac Asimov’s short story, “Light Verse,” a maladjusted robot is endeared to its owner for the works of art it creates. It is the robot’s temperament that enables it to create beautiful art.
These are Google Earth screenshots of New York as rendered by Google Earth.
In June of 2012 Google announced its Google Earth product would feature auto-generated buildings from 45 degree aerial photography. By using data from multiple photographs, distances can be measured and points plotted. This is called photogrammetry and it is how the 3D buildings of Google’s NYC are modeled.
From afar, Google’s NYC look as it might from any aerial photograph. Upon closer look, the polygons are noticeably haphazard. Closer still, the faults are more glaring and the city takes on a the look of an awry dreamworld version of the city.
The imperfections are a result from taking away a human “artist’s hand” - which would have the tendency to adjust and correct as it went along - relying instead on a program lacking the compulsion to create a perfect image.
I believe the images produced by this process are very interesting, much more so than the hand-made, polygon-perfect “facade” view that Google Earth implemented some years ago. To me the pixelated blemishes and the occasional bugs provide a better view into what a city like New York is: a living organism, never perfect, always developing.
I started a tumblog called Photogrammetry NYC. I’ve always been fascinated by representations of cities, from my old LEGO block constructions to the Sim City computer games. Naturally, Google Earth’s 3D buildings are something of a lucid dream to navigate. I now study in Brooklyn, New York and I often use Google tools to find directions and keep track of where I have been.
I believe the buildings of Google’s NYC are for the most part auto-generated using something called photogrammetry. As of now it is not perfect; PGNYC is a repository for interesting screens I come across exploring Google’s NYC, such as the Chrysler building missing its spire.
I suppose the day will come when Google’s NYC is a much tidier model, in the meantime I find amusement in my city looking like a broken computer game. Enjoy and uh, follow!
The Chrysler building is pretty from a distance; less so up close.
Also, I kind of adore the terrible graininess you get from taking dim photos with an aging low-end digital camera that’s been dropped more than a few times.