Natural Search Blog


New Terrain Feature on Google Maps

The Google Operating System blog alerted us to how Google Maps quietly added a new “Terrain” button and removed the “Hybrid” button which combined Satellite and Map content. The official Google Lat Long blog reports that the “hybrid” feature can be accessed by clicking the Satellite button and the clicking on/off the “Show labels” box that appears in a dynamic drop-down.

The Terrain content can look pretty dynamic for mountain areas and other places with dramatic elevation contrasts like this area for the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon Terrain
(click to enlarge)

I’m not sure just how valuable this is for the majority of users — (more…)

Google Maps forces Navy to redesign swastika building

Quite some time back, I came across this Swastika-shaped building via Google Maps, and posted the screengrab in my Flickr account. Since then, it became one of my most popular Flickr pictures, since strange stuff like this can become quickly viral. Loads of people (16,000+) have viewed the photo’s page, and then various journalists contacted me and posted the photo on news stories in Europe and elsewhere. Here it is:

Google Map of Swastika-Shaped Building
(click to view swastika photo profile page)

I researched the building and found it was a Navy building, apparently built unintentionally in the shape of a Nazi Swastika in California. This was built way before people anticipated the general public would be viewing buildings from the sky all that much, but now the easy accessibility of viewing satellite pics from Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Mapquest, Microsoft Live Maps, and other utilities have made birds-eye-viewing all too common. I photo-blogged the info I researched on the Flickr page, and quite a few people commented and favorited the unusual picture over time.

Today, CNN reported on the swastika building, and they added one really interesting new detail: (more…)


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