Saturday, 11 September 2010


Today is the aniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I suppose I should try to look at the event through the lens of Google Earth.

First of all, Google Earth's historical imagary for this point goes a long way back.

Right back to 1974 in fact, although what you get is just a blur.

By 1978, things are a little better. You'd probably decide you were looking at a city, rather than a mountain or forest.

Next time the image is updated is in 1994, and you can see the improvement quite clearly.

And then again in 1997...

Overlaying 3d buildings at this point, it's pretty obvious that things have changed radically. If you'd been in a coma, and had no other way of getting any information about the world than Google Earth, you could tell a lot from the next picture. It's dated September 12th, 2001. I'm surprised anyone was allowed to overfly the area, but perhaps police or military imagary found it's way onto Google Earth's database.

The time between then and now has been one of very slow reconstruction.

It's a measure of just how culturally important the attacks were that some of the most valuable real estate in the world has been pretty much undeveloped for the last 9 years. I think if the towers had been toppled due to some natural catastrophe, or an airliner had struck in a genuine accident, things would have moved on much quicker.

December 31st 2001. The clearance of the debris has been going on for several months, and Google Earth shows a clearer site, but with much work still to be done.

Six months later, and Ground Zero is staring to look more like a construction site, and less like a demolition site.

The above images show the development of the site since then. As the little red pushpins show, the image has been lifted from pretty much the same place each time. I suppose the pictures each represent a year, but they're not evenly spaced. Look in the bottom left corner for the image date. You can enlarge each image by clicking on it.

Should any truthers be reading this, I think you should know that going forward in Google Earth's historical imagary from 2009 yields a picture dated 2006. I do know why, but I'm sworn to secrecy.

Today's remembrance was overshadowed by the controversy concerning an Islamic Cultural Center a couple of blocks away from the WTC site.

From what I saw, I think many who'd lost loved ones just wished those on both sides that wanted to make political or theological capital would just go away.

So I'm not trying to make a point here, although I do have a definite and complicated opinion. I just wondered how the two places looked in Google Earth.

To keep the resolution the same, I moved the image and recaptured it, then stitched the two together to form a sort of panorama.

That's how it looked when the towers were still standing.

And this is the same image, taken from 2006.

Finally, I've been messing around with various movie making software. Specifically, Fraps and Windows Movie Maker. I thought that might give an interesting perspective.

See the video below...


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