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Sundowner's Map

Enhance a 2-D streetmap with local shading
  [vote for,

I admit that a streetmap is first and foremost for navigation. Normally, we abide a bit of advertising and interspersed icons for significant sites about the map, to more easily find parks, schools, downtown, and events.

What maps lack in any degree is a sense of topology. What do driving directions from someone on the street, such as "go straight, turn left at the second light, go straight about a mile and when you get close you'll see a row of stores on the hillside to your left" mean when you glance back at your map? The map is flat, 2-D. Thank god the person who gave you directions knew the road was straight and that you'd be slowing down for the hills because, on your map, all the streets look straight and all the corners look square.

If maps could incorporate chiaroscuro (kyä-rõ-skö'rõ) -- a visual effect produced by light and dark shading -- or some other form of shading, the map reader's sense of depth would be used to better understand the way the area really appears to someone on the street. I thought that "Sundowner's" represented shading cast by the position of the sun over the map area at sundown (Late afternoon), for the sake of consistency between areas.

This idea was sparked by seeing a handmade map of the one mile square area around our facility. The artist had simplified the street layout represented by rows of pointillated trees and had represented landmarks figuratively by exaggerating their presentation and angle. The effect was blindingly simple and very concrete and I've since used the product as a handout when answering requests for directions. (Instead of spending 15 minutes answering "How do I get out of here?") I've seen advertising pamphlets and board games done like this, but I can't say if a tool exists to produce this effect.

reensure, Feb 10 2002

Terraserver Pro http://www.terraserver.com/home.asp
The subscription version (better detail, up-to-date content) [phoenix, Feb 10 2002]

Microsoft's Terraserver http://terraserver....oft.com/default.asp
Poorer quality, older images, but it's free... and very close to what [reensure] is looking for. [phoenix, Feb 10 2002]

Where I live, more or less http://terraserver....59&Y=20479&Z=18&W=2
Can you see me waving? [phoenix, Feb 10 2002]

My neighborhood http://terraserver....41&Y=15086&Z=17&W=2
You can see my house from here [reensure, Feb 10 2002]

Mooning You http://terraserver....91&Y=18873&Z=11&W=0
Humble Abode, Sweet Humble Abode [thumbwax, Feb 11 2002]

Where I Would Like to Live http://terraserver....21&Y=26922&Z=15&W=0
When the revolution comes, you'll find me here. [quarterbaker, Feb 13 2002]


       Baked surely? I've seen loads of maps like this - admittedly, not street maps, this effect is usually for piste maps, geology or tourist maps. Even if this hasn't been used for street maps, OS maps always have contours. How is this new?
mcscotland, Feb 10 2002

       Thanks. Piste maps are fine, if you are quite good with terrain. Tourist maps are super for finding something (looks like …). Geology maps, and similar work well but for those of us who are meet/bound impaired. I really like the OS style, for simplicity and a sense of surrounding (seems to be the site favored by online mappers). What none of them are is a larger area of streets with each block (area surrounded by pavement) holding a smaller or larger darkened corner representing the "lowest" point in the section. Our local ordinances now require all blocks to be surveyed for the highest and lowest point to enable swale and drain planning, but this doesn't help if you want to avoid low-lying areas.
reensure, Feb 10 2002

       Local, state and government agencies abound with topographical data. It's really just a matter of combining one map atop the other then shading. You could even input the time you plan on being at your destination and have the shading reflect what you'd see due to the sun's position in the sky.   

       There are programs that will do the equivilent of this now, but not as consumer products. An alternative might be to get the longitute and latitude and punch them into Terraserver (link). Terra server doesn't cover everything, however.
phoenix, Feb 10 2002

       Excellent link, ¯phoenix. My area is not available on Terraserver Pro, and the older Terraserver confused me just to look at it. You're right about the broad effect needed to define one's surroundings, but better still would be the superimposition of very sharp detail (i.e. ink-line streets) with shading, hatching, stippling, or abstract geometric shapes as fill. My confusion is a direct result of overwhelming detail -- compare your neighborhood to mine via the links -- I can't verify any reason for the difference in detail except that my neighborhood lacks trees.
reensure, Feb 10 2002

       I live in a very (80 years) old neighborhood. The local shipyard has grown around the place over the years. And yes, lots of trees make for a lot of shade.
phoenix, Feb 11 2002

       [phoenix]: No disrespect, but only an American could describe 80 years old as 'very old'. My house was built around 1860, is the closest house to the world's first passenger railway station, and was once owned by a relative of George Stephenson.
angel, Feb 12 2002

       Yeah. In a country where very few things are more than 200 years old, an 80 year old house is rare. Especially in the center of an urban area. Call it conspicuous consumption.
phoenix, Feb 12 2002

       my place still has the original roman plumbing.
po, Feb 12 2002

       My town is not the name of a real person. ;D
reensure, Feb 12 2002


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