Chile From Within

El Mercurio is in the Google Earth GIS (SIG) Mapping Business!

Posted in chile, Corruption, monopoly, Pinochet, technology by tomasdinges on November 19, 2007

Europa Technologies, TeleAtlas, DMapas/El Mercurio, NASA. Sound familiar maybe? For users of Google Earth (GE) these are the organizations that show up on the first page of the Google Earth global view. Rotate the globe and depending upon the image or frame the company responsible for that image changes. Sometimes instead of TeleAtlas, its Digital Globe, or Terrametrics, for example. Zoom into another level of closeness and one finds yourself in a world brought to you by a whole different level of companies or organizations.

Google Earth front Page
The globe in front of your eyes. All the geographical and cartographical richness that we depend upon, or fawn over for our travel fantasies, or fly with like when we dreamed we flew, roofers who make estimates for customers and business data, geo-tracking, for example, brought to you by these folks. They must be pretty important people to be involved with such an awe-inspiring and occassionally fearsome initiative as Google Earth.

What they all do, and how they do it, I’m not exactly sure. There is a Google Earth bulletin board you can seek out more information.

Europa Technologies, according to a bulletin board post by Warren Vick for Google Earth folks, is a “Supplier of places, airports, coastlines and borders data to GE.” In other places it is listed as “first level administrative border information.”

Terrametrics does, “pure uncompressed NASA source data lineage,” basically the global satellite imagery for Google Earth to a resolution of 15 meters per pixel.

DMapas/EL MERCURIO does, well, I don’t know…they provide “Map Data.” What is “Map Data” in Google Earth world? Wait, is this Grupo de Empresas El Mercurio? Is this the newspaper we love to hate for its control over the media environment in Chile getting into the GIS and mapping business? Is this the owner of La Segunda, Las Ultimas Noticias and almost all of the regional newspapers in Chile, the home of Hermogenes Perez de Arce, and Agustin Edwards. Is this the company of newspapers who were willing participants in the propaganda efforts of the conservative Chile before and after the coup by Pinochet?

Yes. What does it mean for the quality of information that DMapas is providing?

El Mercurio was famously known in the Sixties for having been the subject of a saying that is still regularly cited today. “El Mercurio miente.” The newspaper was known for documenting and speaking for the interests of the powerful and wealthy in Chile. Up to this day despite its presence in the Grupo de Diarios de las Americas, a prestigious association of 11 newspapers throughout Latin America (and Spain) it is still accused of having a conservative ideological drive to its coverage of news and politics. See its Wikipedia entry.

For good reason, people have credibility issues with El Mercurio. Is there a reason why we should question the legitimacy and quality of their mapping info, through their company, DMapas?

Will they engage in ommission, or commission, of places and names, doing something like cartographical revisionism. Is there a way to subvert google earth with ideology and control over content, like newspapers have historically been used. Is Web 2.0 subject to poisoning? See this recent Wall Street Journal article on activists using Google Earth for data mapping for an example of the positive uses of what I mean.

Below, a known malady in Chilean society. I’ve heard statistics that Chile is the number three consumer of Coca-Cola per capita in the world. This image below is found a few miles outside of the northernmost large city of Chile, Arica and was done in 1986 to commemorate 100 years of Coca-Cola. Ahhh, the liberty, the carbonation, the red and the white, the wave, the iconic imagery, the cocaine, the salt, the high fructose corn-syrup, the citric acid, the decadent rot, now rampant through Latin America, in my refrigerator and on my desk.

12 Responses

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  1. Chileno said, on November 19, 2007 at 2:07 am

    >>>See its Wikipedia entry.

    For good reason, people have credibility issues with El Mercurio.

    Tell me you didn’t just cite “Wikipedia” in a discussion of credibility without at least peripherally nodding to the immense credibility issues that Wikipedia itself faces. Is this an irony-free zone?

    >>>Is Web 2.0 subject to poisoning?

    Do you even know what Web 2.0 is? Since when was Google Earth an example of “Web 2.0”? Okay, so GE technology can be used in 2.0 mash-ups or whatever but the way you say it makes it sound like Mercurio’s partnership with Google is an example of Web 2.0 and I don’t think so. Maybe you’re right. It’d be cool if you could prove me wrong.

    But if not, then your reference to Web 2.0 requires a leap from the issue at hand – the Mercurio heart Google deal – to potential consumer-based uses of products resulting from that deal and you don’t explain connect the dots, nor are those dots really relevant.

    There was a time, like 2005, when using “Web 2.0” without a proper understanding of it means was in vogue but I think we’re well past that.

    http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

  2. tomasdinges said, on November 19, 2007 at 3:21 am

    What up. Thanks for the clarifying article on Web 2.0

    your logic is skipping a step.
    you read into my words to say that i make El Mercurio’s relationship with Google and example of web 2.0, but at the same time you question why i posit that GE is an example of Web 2.0.

    Of course El Mercurio working for GE to provide content for Google Earth is NOT an example of Web 2.0.

    But, Google Earth is an example of 2.0. GE is a platform for user generated content, like Flickr, Wikipedia, Delicious..etc..

    Do a file search for kml or kmz, and Darfur…see what pops. People are using the platform of GE to generate content that is useful to them.

    I am afraid, maybe naively, that if we don’t properly understand the basic role of GE official mapping services, then it could get corrupted.

    Wikipedia aggregates information about El Mercurio, and includes direct links, etc.. It is a simple jumping off point for a curious mind.

  3. Chileno said, on November 19, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Well done, I think mostly what I was reacting to was that it sounded like you could be implying Mercurio heart Google = Web 2.0, it wasn’t clear to me so it sounded dumb.

    I know very little about GE and I am not afraid of it. Do you really think this is a story? I think we shouldn’t pay so much attention.

  4. tomasdinges said, on November 19, 2007 at 5:34 am

    So you know little about GE, and so you are not afraid of it? That’s good.

    So you know little about GE, and you think we shouldn’t pay so much attention? That’s also good.

    You sound like a poster boy for the Bush Administration.

    What other Newspaper or media companies do you know working intimately with Google?

    I’m just saying that WE DON’T know anything about google earth and its relationship with content providers. Also, I inherently distrust anything related to El Mercurio.

    The combination of these two concerns leads me to ask the question…

    SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED? I don’t know. Maybe it is a non-story.

    You know very little about GE, so I won’t ask you, though.

    hehe.

  5. Chileno said, on November 19, 2007 at 6:04 am

    Again, I think we shouldn’t pay so much attention. Why be the watch-dog. Bow wow. It’s not like they’re watching us.

  6. chuck goolsbee said, on November 19, 2007 at 7:38 am

    BTW to us Americanos Nortes the acronym “GE” means “General Electric”… especially since it pre-dates Google Earth by more than a century. GE is into so many things, and is such a large part of the famous MI-Complex that it was a simple leap to assume that satellite imagery also falls within its bailiwick… and i bet it does… somehow.

    It took me until reading the comments until I realized that you were using ‘GE’ as a shorthand for Google Earth.

    –chuck
    http://chuck.goolsbee.org

  7. Randy Paul said, on November 20, 2007 at 3:12 am

    Maybe El Mercurio, with the aid of Google Earth will put together a page showing the secret graves of Pinochet’s victims throughout Chile. /snark>

  8. Chileno said, on November 20, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Randy Paul, you’re up next: to answer your question about torture centers, well I was weaving together snark, torture and Google maps months ago baby. Check it out:

    http://c.hileno.com/2007/06/chile-human-rights-santiago-map.html

  9. Chileno said, on November 20, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Okay Randy, you were talking about graves – totally different. Fantastic idea. Coke, anyone?

  10. […] El Mercurio is in the Google Earth GIS (SIG) Mapping Business!Is this the newspaper we love to hate for its control over the media environment in Chile getting into the GIS and mapping business? Is this the owner of La Segunda, Las Ultimas Noticias and almost all of the regional newspapers in … […]

  11. […] El Mercurio is in the Google Earth GIS (SIG) Mapping Business!Is this the newspaper we love to hate for its control over the media environment in Chile getting into the GIS and mapping business? Is this the owner of La Segunda, Las Ultimas Noticias and almost all of the regional newspapers in … […]

  12. tarek said, on September 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm

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