Maps

This page summarizes various useful maps in the context of the Panamerican Peaks project.

Google Earth Maps:

I recorded and later pinpointed all locations of overnight stays during my ride on Google Earth maps. This shows the route and daily distances at a high level as follows:

I put more detailed screen-shots of the stations within a country into the respective ride page. For example, see the ride page for Mexico with two Google Earth views for Baja California and Mainland Mexico.

Google Earth is an amazing tool which allowed me to retrace my own journey in often astonishing detail. In particular in North America, where you have street-view with navigable photos and even 3D model displays of some areas (for instance buildings or bridges). In some cases, it also provides detailed data of a mountain, often giving a better idea of the 3D massif than from a set of photos. For example, consider the simulated flight around Mt. Logan:

An early attempt at rendering the flight over all Panamerican Peaks was done in the spring of 2009 during the planning stages. This was created with Microsoft Virtual Earth, now integrated into Microsoft Bing.

Views of the Earth:

Another fascinating set of images can be found on Christoph Hormann’s Views of the Earth website. It features a set of several dozen synthetic images rendered based on publicly available high-resolution satellite image data. As one example, consider this set of two views of Patagonia. First is a view of the South American Continent from a position 2800km above the Coast of Antarctica (details see here):

Synthetic Image of Patagonia (source: Views of the Earth)


Another more close-up view (details here) shows the Southern Patagonia Icefields with the three lakes Lago Argentino, Lago Viedma, and Lago O’Higgins, which I cycled along or crossed by ferry into Chile:

Patagonia View with Lago Argentino, Viedma, and O'Higgins

Given the rapid improvement in computer rendering speed and satellite image data storage and manipulation capabilities, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ability to perform flights in such synthetically rendered views to retrace a particular route as seen from arbitrary perspectives.

SPOT Tracks:

I carried a SPOT personal satellite tracker with me at all times, both on the bike and in the mountains. It provided both a level of safety due to its built-in emergency location signaling capabilities as well as the ability for near real-time tracking of my whereabouts even from remote areas (without cell-phone coverage). This was particularly useful during the mountain expeditions, where I had no other means of regular tele-communication (phone, email, etc.). As an example, consider these tracks showing the Huascaran expedition:

SPOT track of Huascaran climb from Musho (bottom-left) via Camp Base, 1 and 2 to the summit (top right)

SPOT track of Huascaran climb from Musho (bottom-left) via Camp Base, 1 and 2 to the summit (top right)

Spot track over satellite image with OK messages from camps and summit

Spot track over satellite image with OK messages from camps and summit

Others:

Here is a wonderful time lapse movie made from Hi-Def images aboard the International Space Station. During the 1 min video the space station flew at night along the Pacific Coast of North America and Central America, then across the Pacific to the Coasts of Ecuador and Peru and on over the altiplano of Peru and Bolivia into the sunrise.

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