Digital Mapping

Advances in technology have made digitizations of maps possible; despite it having pros and cons, this progress has also segued into the concept of spatial history.

Programs such as Google Fusion Tables and Palladio have mapping functions. We were fortunate enough to experiment with a cleaned up comma delimitated (.csv) file, the Cushman Collection.

Using Google Fusion Tables, Google automatically detects the geocoordinates column and places dots for every photo taken at that location. The perks, in my opinion, of Google Fusion Tables is you receive an expanded amount of information when you hover over a dot. In addition, you can utilize street view, which could be helpful in comparing the location up to the date Google maps took the picture with the photo taken in the past.

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On the other hand, Google Fusion Tables’ map function only has two overlays: “map” and “satellite.” So the two images here display the only two options available to view. (Above is Satellite view and below is Map view)

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Google has become so prominent in our society today that it doesn’t get questioned often. However, Patricia Seed, in “A Map is Not a Picture…,” calls us to reexamine our standards and how credible maps are. The borderlines above seem irregularly straight, so I searched for another U.S. map displaying the state borderlines.


This picture is provided by Wikipedia (click the picture for direct link). If we closely examine Wyoming, for example, the borderline on the West is slanted, but on Google Fusion Tables, it is completely straight.

Palladio can look almost exactly identical with Google Fusion Tables’ map, by using the Streets and Terrains tiles. Palladio, for one, has more options for view-ability of the map, but it lacks the street view and amount of information shown when hovering over a dot, like Google Fusion Tables. Palladio only features a number description over a dot.

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Additionally, Palladio offers more functions with the map function. The Timeline below displays a bar graph of how many photos is taken in that time and the colors represent the different types of pictures.

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Above, I highlighted the timeline between ~1947-1949 to only display the photos taken at the time as the dots on the map. This function is especially useful when examining the correlation of time, location, and types of photos taken.

Playing with these two mapping tools, Google Fusion Tables and Palladio, have caused me to be more aware of mapping in general. Though maps can be manipulated to be aesthetically pleasing, examining them closer is the only way to really decipher any problems or information.

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