Thursday, March 24, 2011

Google Earth Meltdown

Daily Mail:  Warped and mangled beyond recognition, they look like a computerised version of a Salvador Dali painting.

But these pictures are not the work of a Surrealist - they are what happened when Google tried to tinker with its images of Earth.

Technicians have added elevation to the Google Earth tool but due to glitches the change had a bizarre effect on some of the world’s most famous roads and bridges. The 746ft tall Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has been made as thin as paper and stuck to the surface of the water beneath it.

In other cases, bridges no longer go over ravines - instead they roll down the sides and go along the bottom before coming back up the other cliff face.

The images were created when Google tried to extrapolate 2D images on to a 3D landscape but did not get it quite right. They were spotted by artist and programmer Clement Valla who has trawled Earth to collect a string of weird sights.

The ‘Postcards From Google Earth, Bridges’ are 60 images from the virtual globe which show what happens when 2D and 3D don’t get along.

The most striking is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco which has been flattened out - including the cars driving over it - and apparently nailed to the water’s surface. The George Washington Bridge in New York appears to twisted as it goes up a hill and its enormous support structures seem bent over. One picture of the Los Angeles Highway System makes the roads look like tin foil.

Google Earth is a free downloadable virtual globe tool that allows users to zoom in as close as street level to observe images that have been created by overlaying satelliate photos and aerial photography.

Google was unavailable for comment.

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