Sunday, July 17
DC: Nothing to See Here (Or: Security Through Obscurity)
I was watching a TV program on Washington, DC, and I located some of the places around town on Google Maps, just to satisfy my curiosity. I was also looking at these spots in satellite view and found something odd: the details of the Capitol building and the legislators' office buildings are mosaicked out of view. (And, ha ha, here's the corresponding ground-level view of the Capitol.)
At first glance, it appeared that the White House is not given the same treatment, but after reading up on this quirk I looked again and found the WH and its two neighbors have a kind of unearthly flatness because of colored shapes placed over them.
I kind of wonder why these places are censored in Google Maps, considering that the service's orthographic views are not especially close-up and that images of these locations are already available through other sources anyway.
On an unrelated note, Google Maps is a lot better now that it finally has a scale. I don't know why the scale was not originally included.
...And, oh yeah, I forgot the Pentagon--the heart of the American military, attacked on 9/11, but left uncensored.
file under Google Maps, Washington (DC), maps, mapping, map, censored, censorship, security, national security, White House, Capitol
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