Skiing the Top of the World. Indexing the Earth.


A couple weekends ago we were in Flims, Switzerland. That’s our GPX track from one day, in Google Earth. I spent a lot of time gazing the profile of the Alps, sometimes while moving. It’s dizzying.

Most definitely that view, standing on the ground, at 46.88076, 9.204135, looking southwesterly, is unique on this earth. The profile of the peaks on these ahistoric warm and clear days stood out sharply against the sky. From this photo, it would be easy to extract that profile. From only that photo profile, could the precise location be discovered. Or .. are mountains another technology to determine location.


The more summery view from the same spot in Google Earth isn’t convincing that it’s possible.


I generated a profile for this spot at Hey, what’s that? and the result isn’t any more convincing that’s it’s easy to search by mountain.

Suppose there’s some very rough relation between the three .. and perhaps it’s just the suitable abstraction that would reveal a match. Can the ups and downs of mountain peaks against the sky be translated into an indexable number or pattern? Can we truly Google the Earth? Is the Earth Turing complete?