The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center’s repopulation map shows the extent to which New Orleans’s neighbourhoods have recovered post-Katrina, using the following indicators: mail pickups and Road Home grant recipients (“stay and rebuild” vs. “sell to the State”). Via James.
Google has updated its New Orleans imagery in response to the outcry over its decision — made last September — to update that imagery with higher-quality images that were unfortunately, and impolitically, before Hurricane Katrina. The Official Google Blog:
[I]n September 2006, the storm imagery was replaced with pre-Katrina aerial photography of much higher resolution as part of a regular series of global data enhancements. We continued to make available the Katrina imagery, and associated overlays such as damage assessments and Red Cross shelters, on a dedicated site (earth.google.com/katrina.html). Our goal throughout has been to produce a global earth database of the best quality — accounting for timeliness, resolution, cloud cover, light conditions, and color balancing.
Given that the changes that affected New Orleans happened many months ago, we were a bit surprised by some of these recent comments. Nevertheless, we recognize the increasingly important role that imagery is coming to play in the public discourse, and so we’re happy to say that we have been able to expedite the processing of recent (2006) aerial photography for the Gulf Coast area (already in process for an upcoming release) that is equal in resolution to the data it is replacing. That new data was published in Google Earth and Google Maps on Sunday evening.
Previously: Google Reverts to Pre-Katrina New Orleans Imagery.
Google has apparently replaced post-Katrina images of New Orleans with imagery from before the hurricane clobbered the city, and people are upset about that, the AP reports (choose your source for the same article: Boston Globe, Guardian, Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, USA Today).
My reaction to this depends on what this old imagery replaces. There are (at least) two possibilities, and I don’t know which is true.
If it replaces imagery of New Orleans underwater, then reverting to old imagery might be the least worst option: New Orleans is still devastated, but it’s dry. It takes a while to update satellite and aerial imagery, so if there hasn’t been a flyover since the storm, it might simply be past time to revert to non-disaster imagery. If the city was on fire during the flyover, you wouldn’t keep the blaze burning on the image server for years afterward, would you?
But, if it replaces imagery taken of a dry, damaged New Orleans some time after Katrina, then someone has some explaining to do. I don’t, however, assume a conspiracy without actual evidence of said conspiracy.
Or did the “Katrina” button just get removed? (It was removed at some point, because it’s not there now. When, I don’t know.)
Thanks to Maggie for the tip.
Previously: Hurricane Katrina: Google Maps and Other Imagery.
Update, 3/31 at 10:40 AM: Frank reports that the imagery change actually took place last September. (See, we were paying attention.) The post-Katrina imagery was, as I thought, right after the storm and was lower-quality than the older, pre-Katrina imagery. So when you think about it, the pre-Katrina imagery is more useful than the alternative, notwithstanding any symbolic implications. New imagery would, of course, be nice.
Glenn of GISuser.com has been collecting photos, maps and other graphics related to hurricanes — Katrina in particular, naturally — on his Flickr account.
Late to the party, but Microsoft has put in a solid, if buggy effort with this Virtual Earth powered feature on MSNBC’s web site. Conceptually, it’s excellent: clicking on the camera icons on the Virtual Earth hybrid map brings up before and after photos for that location, but it does not work properly in Firefox and Safari (I can’t test IE; see Cartography on bugginess). More from Chandu Thota (1, 2), Robert Scoble and the Virtual Earth team blog.
Not quite maps, but these aerial images show New Orleans beginning to dry out.
It’s been a few days since I last posted on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Here are a few more links. Apologies for letting them accumulate.
ESRI’s Hurricane Katrina Disaster Viewer is, according to ESRI’s Lisa Kensok, who submitted this link, “designed to provide more detailed information than satellite imagery about impacted areas to responders, people affected, and the general public. You can locate an address or zoom to areas of interest and view FEMA damaged areas, U.S. Postal Service affected delivery areas, post-disaster satellite imagery, population density, street maps, and a lot more info. You can also generate demographic reports for selected areas.”
People are making good use of Google Maps hacks; Google Maps Mania had a roundup last week. Not a Google mashup, but a kindred spirit: this page uses a slider to show the size of the flooded area by superimposing it on a map of Boston (via O’Reilly Radar).
More flood maps of New Orleans (see this morning’s entry). Kathryn Cramer, whose blog has turned into an immense resource for Hurricane Katrina information, links to a Google Maps hack that shows the approximate water depth in flooded areas; because… • Continue reading this entry.
Over on GeoCarta, Roger goes beyond the latest satellite and aerial photography of New Orleans (which is what’s getting the lion’s share of attention); he looks at NOAA’s survey of the damage to the Mississippi River shipping channel and has… • Continue reading this entry.
I’ve been getting e-mail from people asking about the state of various locations in and around New Orleans and other areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. I’m not the best person to answer such questions — I’m just someone from small-town… • Continue reading this entry.
Orbimage’s satellite photos of New Orleans post-Katrina, here and here, are in black and white; as a result, the detail is much sharper and the flooded parts of the city are much more visible, as the example above (courtesy… • Continue reading this entry.
I’ve been reorganizing my categories a bit; my Hurricane Katrina entries now have their own category. More satellite imagery: Before and after satellite images from GlobalSecurity.org. Landsat’s before and after images seem to have more detail than the others. NASA… • Continue reading this entry.
(Updated) More satellite imagery from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina is being made available. Space Imaging’s Image Gallery has images of New Orleans before Katrina and Mobile, Alabama after Katrina (via Cartography). Digital Globe’s Hurricane Katrina Media Gallery has… • Continue reading this entry.
(Updated) Susan Kitchens has compiled and sent along an animated image (680-KB animated GIF) that shows the New Orleans area before and after Hurricane Katrina passed through; per her suggestion, I’m hosting it on my server. See previous entries: Hurricane… • Continue reading this entry.
(Many updates) Watch Hurricane Katrina’s path via satellite imagery or radar; both are NOAA pages and both require Java. Via Paulo. Kathryn Cramer has been collecting aerial images of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, along with some… • Continue reading this entry.