High Resolution Spots
These are actually 'overlays' coded into the GE database. It's part of a National Geographic project taking place in Africa, story is here.
The one anomaly is the overlay in California, and what's interesting is that, while it's much sharper than the surrounding area, it's not nearly as sharp as the African spots, so there's no telling what's going on with it.
Effects-wise, there's a big difference between the 'terrain' 3-D and the cities, in that users are allowed to update the city scenes, whereas putting a McDonald's at the top of Mt. Everest is not allowed. This is a combo effort on both Google and the users' part. Google has put 'placeholder' buildings in certain cities. Users are then allowed to 'model' the buildings to reflect how they really are. That's why some buildings are textured and others aren't.
Meet The Family Glyph
A 'geoglyph' is a large ground marking made by adding something external, such as paint, dye, sand, bricks, other rocks, etc. A 'petroglyph' is made by carving into the ground. As such, the glyphs in the Americas are mostly petroglyphs, whereas most of the Euro stuff are geoglyphs.
'Hieroglyphs' are strange, arcane markings used to symbolize ancient words:
The meaning of both of those ancient tablets remains unsolved to this day.
Indian with iPod
You'd have to call this thing "an accident of topography", but it's still great. If it had been turned any other compass heading, it never would have been noticed, but the fact that it's aligned perfectly to north was bound to bring it to someone's attention. The 'ear bud' is also a coincidence; it's just an oil well. Still, as I noted elsewhere, it's the only 'looks like' spot I've included in the collection, just because it is pretty amazing.
While it wasn't worth making a whole tour of the 30 major league baseball stadiums, my KMZ file for them is here. Make sure the '3D Buildings' in the 'Layers' area is on.
AT&T Park, where my beloved Giants play:
If anyone's interested, I have a video essay on baseball here.
The Bull's Eye Mystery
Way on the outskirts of Beale Air Force Base:
Some people claim it's a partially covered reservoir, with pics leading to similar ones in Britain. Then someone in one of the forums said, "It's a photographic resolution target. Remember, Beale is an air recon base.", which makes all kinds of sense.
Then it turns out it's sitting right next to a PAVE PAWS radar site, the latest of its kind and the first thing an enemy would take out
So, as it turns out, it actually might be a real bull's eye — daring the Russkies to take the first shot!
The Ugly Truth Is Revealed At Last
While I can't say I actually 'learned' much from putting this project together (besides learning all about the exciting Family Glyph, of course), I did learn one thing:
Buckingham Palace isn't a palace.
This is a palace:
See the tall, pointy spires rising into the sky, the pennants waving in the breeze, the innocent damsels in distress?
This is a fort:
See the big square efficient design and high walls, ready to fend off any and all attackers?
Ergo, this is also a fort:
Also known as Buckingham "Palace" to some.
The Swastika Building
In San Diego, CA:
While we freely grant that such a design is eminently pragmatic, it still boggles the mind that this plan ever got
off on the ground in the first place. If you didn't catch it, this was built by…
The United States Navy.
There are actually two things that are amazing about it:
1. All they had to do was reverse the blueprint and no one would have said a word. The 'crossed Z's' symbol is used throughout Eastern religions as a symbol of peace, harmony or infinity, and was also used by early American Indians. Some critic could have called it a "reverse swastika", but that's pretty thin. There's much more info on the Swastika Tour page.
2. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, do we assume their architectural blueprints were aligned to north? What's particularly impressive is that they made sure the swastika was aligned at that perfect crosswise angle, just to make sure everybody knew they were imitating an official Nazi swastika, not the Hopi Indian symbol of the great god Thunderbird.
All in all, a masterful job!