Best of the Blogs – 19 April 2017

Each week, Spatial Source finds the best that the internet has to offer.

The new Peaks and Valleys story map is an impressive 3D tour of Earth’s tallest mountains and deepest canyons. The Esri Story Map takes you on a journey from the tip of Mount Everest to the world’s lowest valleys, desert basins and inland seas- all in glorious 3D. [Maps Mania]

What makes the world go round? Not love or money. Except if it’s the love of oil, and the money to pay for it. This world map shows each country’s main export, excluding services. The results are colour-coded. Australia stands out like a sore thumb for its greatest export, coal. [Big Think]

Navigating in China is no easy feat, unless you speak like a local. Google Maps is banned, Baidu Maps is only available in Chinese languages and the reference frame upon which China bases all its maps is a randomised system known as ‘Mars Coordinates’ due to its 500 metre discrepancies. The article “Why is China messing with our GPS coordinates?” discusses how this came to be and what you can do. [Geoawesomeness]

The Uncharted Atlas bot generates a realistic fantasy world map every hour and publishes it to Twitter. In simple terms, Martin O’Leary’s program takes a random bumpy surface for topography and then adds water, an erosion simulation and a naming methodology. As a glaciologist and all-round internet innovator, O’Leary knows how these things work, and since February 2016 has created an impressive catalogue of unreal worlds. Now, he has shares his secrets… [Atlas Obscura]


On March 16, 2017, US aircraft attacked the Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque in Syria, killing at least 38 people. In separate investigations of the same attack, Bellingcat analysed open source information and Forensic Architecture created an impressive three-dimensional model of the mosque and an animated recreation of the attack, as shown in the excerpt above and detailed in this here story: [Human Rights Watch].

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