Archive of posts with tag 'places'

Places: The English Channel

June 28, 2020 • #

English Channel

This image from Landsat 8 shows the western end of the English Channel off the coast of Cornwall. A phytoplankton bloom spreads for dozens of miles, filling the St. Austell Bay.

The only time I was on the Channel was on the ferry from Dover to Calais, on a particularly rough but clear day.

English Channel :: 50°01' N, 4°31' W

Image credits: NASA

Places: the Tes River Basin

March 11, 2020 • #

This one cropped up through Google’s Earth View Chrome extension.

The Tes River runs east to west into northwest Mongolia from the Sayan Mountains in Siberia.

Tes River

It empties into the Uvs Nuur Basin, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The river’s floodplain looks amazing from the air, a 10+ mile wide swath with dozens of smaller streams formed as the main course has meandered all over and stranded oxbows and dropped bands of sediment.


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Places: Remnants of an Ancient Lake

February 17, 2020 • #

Lake Chad spans 4 national borders in the central Sahel: Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon. Since the 1960s it’s shrunk to about 5% its ancestral size, due to overuse, mismanagement, and climate shifts.

Lake Mega Chad

This NASA photo uses SRTM data combined with Landsat 8 to highlight the edges of the basin that was once the size of the Caspian Sea:

About 7,000 years ago, a vast lake spread hundreds of square kilometers across north-central Africa. Known to scientists as Lake Mega Chad, it...

Places: Kimbolton Region

October 2, 2019 • #

I first saw this through Google’s Earth View a few months back. It’s a coastal area of the Kimberly Region in Western Australia.


Bands of low-lying mountain ranges run from southeast to northwest, jutting out into the Timor Sea. The striated bands of folded rock formations create low-elevation channels, and where these meet the ocean you get fjord-like features slicing into the coastline. It reminds me of The Vale from the map of Westeros.

Along the coast you get features like the Horizontal Falls: a...

Places: The Kolyma River

August 8, 2019 • #

Kolyma River

This striking image shows sediment flow from the Kolyma, a 1,300 mile braided river that originates in the mountains of Eastern Siberia.

For about eight months of the year, the Kolyma River is frozen to depths of several meters. But every June, the river thaws and carries vast amounts of suspended sediment and organic material into the Arctic Ocean. That surge of fresh, soil-ridden waters colors the Kolyma Gulf (Kolymskiy Zaliv) dark brown and black.

Nearby to the west you can see a...

Places: Mergui Archipelago

July 16, 2019 • #

On this edition of Places is the Mergui Archipelago, a string of coastal islands off of southern Myanmar in the Andaman Sea.

Mergui Archipelago

I saw this image a few years back on NASA’s Earth Observatory feed. It’s an amazing snapshot from Landsat 5 that shows gorgeous colors from the silts and sediments emptied at the mouth of the Lenya River. The tidal motions make the colored sea water smear across the image like an oil painting. I also love the dendritic patterns of the streams and tributaries on the islands. They give...

Places: Col du Galibier

June 25, 2019 • #

The mountain stages of the Tour de France are some of my favorite events in sports. This edition of Places features a tribute to this year’s 18th stage, and one of my favorite climbs of the Alps: the Col du Galibier, a 2,600m HC beast with an epic descent on the other side.

Col du Galibier

Galibier was last climbed in the 2017 Tour, during an awesome Stage 17 when Primož Roglič won the day on a route that included famous...

Places: Great Slave Lake

June 7, 2019 • #

Our place for today I found via NASA’s Earth Observatory feed: the Great Slave Lake of the Canadian Northwest Territory.

The Great Slave Lake

While it’s a big body of water when you pan over it on the map, it’s size is hard to fathom when compared to other geographic features:

If you are traveling on Canada’s Great Slave Lake, you will notice one characteristic right away: it is enormous. Roughly the size of Belgium, it ranks in the top fifteen largest lakes worldwide....

Places: Lake Natron

May 22, 2019 • #

Only geography nerds have NASA’s Earth Observatory feed set up in their RSS reader. On there a team from NASA share interesting images from around the world as they come in from the various earth observation satellite sensors in orbit.

I check out items as they come through the feed and will occasionally download my favorites to edit into wallpapers for my laptop or phone. One of the best ever that’s been the wallpaper-of-choice on my machine for the past year is this great shot of Tanzania’s Lake Natron:

Lake Natron

Places: Richat Structure

May 10, 2019 • #

I browse maps all the time, panning around in Google Earth whenever I want to look something up, favoriting things along the way. I thought I’d start documenting some of those here.

The Richat Structure is a circular geologic dome formation in the Mauritanian Sahara. I actually saw this when I was panning around the desert looking at the striated mountains you can see going from east to west toward the Atlantic. The whole structure is about 20 miles in diameter, and looks completely alien and out of place in the desert.

Richat Structure

The Deadly Logistics of Everest

May 3, 2019 • #

Earlier this week I finished reading Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, his account of climbing Mount Everest and surviving the 1996 Everest disaster. The book reads like a thriller, giving the account of how an expedition team prepares for the climb, including the experience in country beforehand and acclimatization process for weeks leading up to the climb.

While reading it, I found myself wishing I had the visual aid of maps of the route, photos of the camps,...

Notre Dame

April 17, 2019 • #

The news of the fire at Notre Dame in Paris was devastating to follow along with as the blaze continued to spread throughout the day on Monday of this week. Many people from the office and on Twitter were reminiscing about their own visits there in the past, which got me looking back at old photos of mine.

The Flying Buttresses of Notre Dame

We visited Paris twice, once together on a tour in 2014 and again when Elyse was little in 2016. Both times we took walks down the Seine to Ile de la...

Sierra Nevada, Basin and Range

February 8, 2019 • #

One of the highlights of the west → east flight from Northern California is the chance to get views over the ranges of California, Nevada, and Colorado. The first leg of my flight home this week took me from San Jose to Denver, offering up those snow-capped mountains I so rarely get to see living in the southeast.

Sierra Nevada

Not too far into the flight you come upon the Sierra Nevada, if you’re lucky passing right over the Yosemite Valley. Today there was a thin, low cloud layer over the mountains, so the view...

Weekend Reading: Mastery Learning, Burundi’s Capital, and SRTM

December 29, 2018 • #

🎓 Mastery Learning and Creative Tasks

Khan Academy’s Andy Matuschak on tasks that require “depth of knowledge” versus those that have higher “transfer demand.” Both can be considered “difficult” in a sense, but teaching techniques to build knowledge need different approaches:

One big implication of mastery learning is that students should have as much opportunity to practice a skill as they’d like. Unlike a class that moves at a fixed pace, a struggling student should always be able to revisit prerequisites, read an alternative explanation, and try some new challenges. These systems...

Weekend Reading: Largest Islands, Linework, and Airline Mapping

December 22, 2018 • #

This week is some reading, but some simple admiring. I wanted to highlight the work of two cartographers I follow that is fantastic. We live in a great world that people can still make a living producing such work.

🏝 Hundred Largest Islands

A beautiful, artistic work from David Garcia sorting each island’s landmass by area. My favorite map projects aren’t just eye candy, they also teach you something. I spent half an hour on Wikipedia reading about a few of these islands.

🛩 On Airline Mapping

This is a project...

The World's Most Remote Buildings

December 18, 2018 • #

From one of my new favorite YouTube channels, The B1M, comes this list of the most remote buildings.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is straight out of science fiction.

I was curious, so I went and tracked down each one on Google Earth. And because I’m a nerd, here’s a geojson file with all of them so you can quickly find and marvel at their remoteness.

China is Erasing its Border with Hong Kong

December 17, 2018 • #

Part of Vox’s Borders video series. Hong Kong is such a fascinating and unique place, as is today’s China, though for massively different reasons. How China treats HK will be one of the indicators of the wider Chinese plan for free market economics and political openness.

Weekend Reading: Exploring Zanzibar, Singapore of the Future, & Watching Basketball

December 1, 2018 • #

🇹🇿 Exploring Zanzibar with Mapillary

A fun travel post from the Mapillary team after FOSS4G in Dar es Salaam. A drive around Zanzibar collecting images for OpenStreetMap mapping. Also check out part 2 of the journey.

🇸🇬 City of the Future: Singapore

Singapore is an interesting experiment: a benevolent authoritarian government, small population, and limited geography to leverage and nurture. This documentary is a bit of a commercial for their plans for the future. Still some fun ideas that (if successful) other megacities could use to maintain quality of life with population growth.

Weekend Reading: Typing on iPad Pro, Climate Optimism, Visualizing GeoNames

November 24, 2018 • #

📱iPad Diaries: Typing on the iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio

I swung through an Apple Store a couple of weeks ago to check out the new hardware. The Smart Keyboard Folio has been hard to imagine the experience with in reviews without handling one. Same with the Pencil. I was particularly impressed with the magnetic hold of the Pencil on the side of the device — it’s darn strong. The current Smart Keyboard has some deficiencies, as pointed out in this article. No instant access to Siri or at least Siri Dictation, no system shortcut keys...

Nargin Island

May 21, 2010 • #

Nargin Island

I just found this spot off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan.

The island is called Nargin, and was a former Soviet military installation. You can see the abandoned base facilities and rusting, derelict hulks of ships on the Caspian beach.

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