May 28, 2004 12:07 PM   Subscribe

continuing on the 1984- teaching front, my students are working on a final project and need some help... [mi]

... they are giving a speech next week that argues that we are nearing orwellian dystopia because of the omnipresence of satellite cameras and all variety of surveillance systems.

can anyone help them find web sites that offer zoom-able arial photography of areas in the u.s. or around the world? i know they exist, but can't find them/ don't remember URLs.

my students ROCK.
posted by ronv to Education (11 answers total)
TerraServer is the first thing that comes to mind.
posted by trillion at 12:32 PM on May 28, 2004

I saw Terrafly on Mefi some time ago. Has imagery and stats of all kinds. Play around, there's tons there.
posted by loquax at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2004

There was a very interesting link posted to the blue a couple of weeks back on a very similar subject.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:26 PM on May 28, 2004

These guys have a nicer, lighter, Web UI for the Terraserver data.
posted by nicwolff at 2:33 PM on May 28, 2004

They might also want to mention the NYC Surveillance Camera Project.
posted by lilboo at 3:40 PM on May 28, 2004

Some advice on the project itself:

A complete analysis of the political aesthetic of 1984 cannot occur without a thorough understanding of Orwell's own politics, hard-forged during the spanish civil war. I therefore consider Homage to Catalonia an indispensible companion volume to 1984 and Animal Farm, and personally think it is more interesting than either of the latter two. Orwell describes the anarchist held region of Catalonia, where many believe true socialism was achieved for the first time. Hence, (paraphrased from my admittedly foggy memory of 1984) "If any hope exists, it lies with the prol[etariat]s."
posted by ChasFile at 3:47 PM on May 28, 2004

also, in response to lilboo, from the homebrewed counter-surveillance culture-jamming department: How to ZAP a Camera: Using Lasers to Temporarily Neutralize Camera Sensors

You'd need pretty good aim to hit a satelite with a laser, tho!
posted by ChasFile at 3:54 PM on May 28, 2004

There aren't any students who disagree?
posted by bingo at 4:17 PM on May 28, 2004

Ha... bingo.

If you really want some nice maps, I highly recommend the USGS National Map Viewer.

You can (depending on what maps are available) download 1-meter resolution satellite maps. To give you an idea of just how insane that is, 1-foot resolution allows you to distinguish between kinds of cars. For example, this is my house.

Depending on the Ortho maps available, you can get some incredible detail. Just be sure to turn off all the other overlay maps (unless you want them, that is).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:57 PM on May 28, 2004

Response by poster: bingo:

there are students that do disagree.
i am very very aware of injecting politics into my classroom.
so any type of activity that involves the connection of modern socio-political events with literature squarely rests on student-based "inquiry," questions, debate.

for instance, with this particular assignment, the question is whether of not our present society is approacing one of the two extremes-- dystopia OR utopia.

i gave two model speeches to begin with--each answering one of the two sides (i try to do every major assignment myself as a means of sobering myself up and in order to provide a clear example for my expectations):

dystopia-- actually did rest on some maps of my neighborhood from the surveillance camera players, specifically, the detailed camera maps of times square and my neighborhood--greenwich village. the latter really creeped me out.
utopia-- was an analysis of some of the "dystopian" lyrics of "karma police" by radiohead and the twist that we are approacing utopia because we, as free thinking human beings, are allowed to write, to sing, and to enjoy such songs. i ended this speech with an image from last year's field day fest in nyc showing how our gatherings aren't two- minutes hate, but autonomous gatherings of expression.

whew. sorry for the extended response.

oh and chasfile: thanks!
posted by ronv at 6:06 AM on May 29, 2004

homage to catalonia is also the basis of a fairly decent mike leigh film (land and freedom) which should complete the indoctrination process quite nicely (just don't come complaining to us when they decide to stone their bourgeois school teacher ;o).
posted by andrew cooke at 6:46 AM on May 29, 2004

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