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More thoughts on Google Maps

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In frieze.com, George Pendle writes about Google Maps and the ever-increasing bits of data that is added to it by the growing number of mashups. “Such a vast and democratic project would seem to signal the last, and grandest, hurrah of the human cartographic impulse,” he writes. “For as the amount of information added to the map grows, and if, or rather when, Google Earth decides to add real-time rather than static satellite imagery to the process, a virtual mirror world will be created, containing vast swaths of information over which we can float like gods.”

His concludes his short essay by suggesting that “the infinitesimally detailed Google Earth is, by its very success, beginning to share the characteristics of a map first dreamed of by Lewis Carroll in his story Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893), in which a map with a scale of one mile to one mile is produced but can never be fully unravelled since it would block out the sun. In consequence of this, people are forced to use the real world as its own map, which proves to do ‘nearly as well’.”

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