Mapping The Center of the World

by Don Friedman on August 20, 2017

Two oddball maps that work great together…

First, the Antipodes map, which shows you where in the world is exactly oppose your location. When I enter our office address, it tells me that 90 Broad Street is at 40° 42′ 13.7″ N, 74° 0′ 43.2″ W; the opposite point is of course 40° 42′ 13.7″ S, 105° 59′ 16.8″ E, which is nicely mapped in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Australia.

Second, the ExtendNY map, which takes the numbered Manhattan street grid and extends it over the entire planet. Our office is at the fictitious intersection of South 36th Street and 4th Avenue. Even better, that spot in the Indian Ocean is near 79504th Avenue and 1312th Street. It may seem odd that it’s not a “south” street, but the Manhattan street grid is tilted approximately 15 degrees from true alignment with the cardinal axes, and given 12,000 miles to travel, that tilt can do a lot of work.

These second map shows the power of New York parochialism, both show the power of data sets and modern mapping technology, and their combination shows just how silly this type of thing can be.

Future Tools

August 4, 2017

Attribution Didier Descouens: Debra Laefer, a friend of ours, has been working on adapting LiDAR the technology to building work. LiDAR has been around for a while and has a lot of applications, but has not been seen as a useful technology for buildings in part because the data wasn’t dense enough. In its broad uses, […]

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Drawing Pulled In Two Directions

July 31, 2017

I found this to be an interesting article on the use of iPads in creating and working with drawings. We use iPads pretty heavily for field survey work – taking notes on PDFs of drawings, taking notes in general, creating annotated photos – but have not got very far into using them as drawing tools. […]

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New And Obsolete Beauty

July 23, 2017

Very few people draft by hand any more, and I haven’t done so in 25 years, but I still want this brand new drafting table.

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Different Eras With The Same Technology

July 14, 2017

There is so much going on in this picture that it’s going to take me two or three posts to cover it all. In case it’s not intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer* that’s a piece of the Manhattan approach of the Brooklyn Bridge, specifically the bridge over Pearl Street. The Brooklyn Bridge […]

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Tragedy in Context

July 6, 2017

A fire engine on its way to the Triangle Fire, 1911: I’ve been reluctant to discuss the fire at the Grenfell Tower in London, largely because I didn’t see that I had anything original to say about it. I’m only slightly familiar with codes and practice in the UK and this horrific tragedy doesn’t lend […]

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The Turning Point In Frame Technology

July 5, 2017

Ben Evans has a very nice piece on the evolution of technology here: Not Even Wrong. It’s not a completely new idea, but he states it well: there is evolution of a given technology within a type, and there’s development of new types that require new ways of design and analysis. These two kinds of […]

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Precise Terminology

June 2, 2017

Stretchers, headers, a few soldiers, and a few rowlocks: Common bricks are rough rectangular prisms, nominally eight inches long by four inches wide by a little less than 2-3/8 inches high. (More on the “little less” below.) The actual dimensions are the nominal dimensions less 3/8 of an inch to allow for mortar joints. Since […]

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Office Processes As Technology

May 31, 2017

I’ve talked before about the changes in office technology during just the period covered by my career – thirty years, so far – but I was recently reminded that the edges of “technology” blur imperceptibly into the surrounding social context. The internal operations of any office (I’ll use ours as an example) are a set […]

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Partial Technology Transfer

May 18, 2017

William Gibson once  wrote “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” That’s true now and was also true in the past. Just because something new and useful has arrived on the scene doesn’t mean it’s everywhere and doesn’t mean it’s being used in its “modern” form everywhere. The picture above […]

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