Name that patch of ground I took a picture of!
December 19, 2014 11:10 PM   Subscribe

I took these pictures last winter during two commercial airline flights -- one from Boston to Detroit, and the other from Phoenix to Detroit. There are a lot of landscapes I'd like to identify geographically. Can you help me fill in the blanks more specifically?
posted by not_on_display to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are these posted to flickr in the order you took them? I.e. in geographic and time sequence along the flight path?
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:22 PM on December 19, 2014

Do you have approximate takeoff and landing times for those flights? I'd start by drawing a line on a map, noting the takeoff and landing times adjusted to your camera time on either end of that line, and placing the pictures along that line at the place indicated by the timestamp in the image EXIF data.

That'll probably get you to within 50 miles or so.
posted by straw at 12:12 AM on December 20, 2014

For the ski area, working from this map, I'd try just calling up the ski trail map for each of the mountains along the likely path until you find a good fit... I've done a few, and the best candidates so far seem to be: Berkshire East or Bromley?

(I checked but at a quick look, it doesn't really look like: Stratton, Magic Mountain, Wachusett, Bradford, Maple Ridge, Bousquet, Granite Gorge, Okemo, Ascutney)
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:22 AM on December 20, 2014

See if "Flighttracker" will show the paths of those flights-- not sure how far back the archives go.

Also, the "unknown_city" shot with an airport should be searchable-- the airport runway is labeled 5 (close end) and 23 (far end), meaning that the runway is angled at 230 degrees or 50 degrees +/- 5 degrees, depending on which direction from which you approach.

But a bit of searching indicates that runways in New York is more commonly mentioned in regards to fashion, and Runway 5/23 is pretty common. Don't see any visual matches, to the airport or river, though.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:26 AM on December 20, 2014

Best answer: Before you reached Niagara Falls you most likely would have flown over Rochester, then Buffalo. I think Rochester is your identified city.
posted by SyraCarol at 5:34 AM on December 20, 2014

Best answer: I'm fairly positive that your first unidentified city with the airport is Manchester, NH. The river and airport location match up pretty much perfectly. The second unidentified city I'm pretty sure is Rochester, NY - that one I got from the rail yard and its relative angle to the streets around it. Downtown looks right too.
posted by malthas at 6:44 AM on December 20, 2014

Best answer: Assuming that your flight to Detroit was from KBOS to KDTW, it is almost certain your flight went HYLND CAM GONZZ BUF, which looks like this. Looking over that for airports that match this picture could at least pin that one down.

What were the endpoints for your southwest flight? Also, are these in chronological order?
posted by jammer at 9:46 AM on December 20, 2014

Best answer: That airport is Lawrence Municipal Airport, in Lawrence, MA. Airnav data.
posted by jammer at 9:52 AM on December 20, 2014

Best answer: And yes, as malthas said, the second airport is definitely Manchester-Boston Regional. Here's data from airnav, if you're curious.
posted by jammer at 9:57 AM on December 20, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! This is great. I believe the photos are in sequential order, and the date is probably on the EXIF. I'll look more into it when I have a chance to sit down.
posted by not_on_display at 10:02 AM on December 20, 2014

Best answer: Sorry for the machine gun posting, but looking at the mountainous areas you flew over on that assumed flight path, I've identified Mount Snow as the likely ski area in this one and the next.

I need to take off to see a movie, but I'll try my hand at identifying the others (that people don't beat me to) later today. This is fun!
posted by jammer at 10:03 AM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've identified Mount Snow as the likely ski area in this one and the next.

Aha, I thought it was Mt. Snow! I learned to ski there as a kid, and it looked so much like how I remembered, but I forgot to check it against the trail map. Thanks for your help; glad you are finding it a fun challenge!
posted by not_on_display at 5:33 PM on December 20, 2014

Response by poster: What were the endpoints for your southwest flight?

It was from Sky Harbor airport to Detroit (Wayne County, the one with the mile-long terminal), and I was on the left-hand side of the plane looking relatively north/northwest.
posted by not_on_display at 5:47 PM on December 20, 2014

Best answer: Your Lake Ontario looks specifically to me like the area of Sodus Point / Sodus Bay.

I'd also agree with Malthus that this unidentified city is Rochester. That pear-shaped frozen lake in the lower left of your photo looks like it would be in Cobbs Hill Park.

It looks like most of the easily identifiable ones from the Detroit metro area have been pegged by kiltedtaco.

Identifying the geography in the SW is going to be more difficult for someone not familiar with the area. You both covered a lot more ground, and there's little in the way of human impact to make identifying your topics easy from the air.

If someone's feeling intrepid, it looks like there are several different routes commonly taken between KPHX and KDTW, with this being the most common one by far, but this a possible alternative; they don't differ much in the part of the country you're going to be looking at here. The remaining ones on that list are mostly variants of one of these two. (And, of course, you didn't necessarily take any of these on this flight, these are just the most common commercial routes between the two airports, they could vary on any given flight for any number of reasons.)

Based on the terrain, I'm thinking that Albuquerque and environs are probably a good starting point for a search area, but at this point it's getting a bit too close to Where's Waldo for me. :)
posted by jammer at 6:21 PM on December 20, 2014

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