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