Check out this amazing 3D map of Mercury

Last month we wrote about the first topographic map of Mercury – the closest planet to our sun located 48 million miles (77 million km) away from Earth. The map was based on images taken by NASA’s MESSENGER – the spacecraft that launched toward Mercury in 2004 and began orbiting the planet in 2011. Last year it ended its four-year long mission after flying around Mercury 4100 times and capturing 300k images that were released for a free reuse to the public.

A Czech company called Melown decided use this opportunity and to test their 3D visualisation platform. They’ve taken 100k images of the planet to create their Google Earth-like model of Mercury. The effect is totally awesome and the engine works really well! Take a look.

Melown Mercury Map“When NASA / JHUAPL released the first ever digital elevation data of Mercury based on the MESSENGER mission a couple of weeks ago, we saw it as an opportunity to do a lightweight case study with extra-terrestrial data. Unlike some other geospatial systems, Melown has been designed to model any planet (and any object for that matter) but we never put that ability to practical test”, Ondřej Procházka, Director and Chief Engineer of Melown commented for Geoawesomeness.

Melown provides the cloud services, network protocols and rendering technology which allows for interactive map applications, ranging from highly detailed true 3D scenes (such as the one here) to entire worlds, such as Mercury.

Great job Melown team.

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Police can request your Location History from Google Maps Timeline

Google Watching You - Geoawesomeness

If you’re criminal and you have Android phone or you use Google Maps on iOS you should consider switching back to your old feature phone. The Verge reported about several cases where police have filed warrants requesting from Google the location logs of suspects.

The requested data is collected by a little-known service called Google’s Location History. We’ve been writing about it multiple times over the last few years as well as last July when the official coming out of the service happened as it has been added to Google Maps app in the form of the Timeline feature.

Google says that the Timeline helps you add a spatial layer to your memories but frankly speaking what it actually does is showing users that the company not only stores the information about our whereabouts but also deeply analyses it. The service is a clear evidence that Google records when and where your smartphone was and today Google’s policy is to comply with law enforcement requests for this location data.

According to the US’ Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals which recently analysed the case asking a company for smartphone location data voluntarily shared by a users doesn’t represent a search under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, and therefore doesn’t need a warrant. According to the judges volunteering your geographic position information means you’ve consciously given up a “reasonable expectation of privacy” to a 3rd party.

No matter if we want to hide something or not it make sense be aware of sort of data we are sharing with the world. In that post we’ve listed all services where Google might be tracking your personal information and in many cases you can manage the privacy settings to keep it private. It’s worth taking some time to review it.

It is also worth mentioning that the capability is far more widespread on Android phones than iOS. While both system can calculate your geographic position with a similar accuracy, the Location History functions can’t easily log that data outside of the Android ecosystem.

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