In Critical Path, Fuller explained how the land masses of Spaceship Earth had been aerially photographed so that the exact geographical position of the photographed area vertically beneath the aircraft was fixed by radio-triangulation. The aircraft sent out radio signals which were received by two stations whose positions were known. The direction of the beam received at each station then permitted triangulation.

Fuller's Geoscope was designed to be 200ft in diameter so as to accommodate a mosaic of 35mm contact prints of the aerial photographs. At that scale the Geoscope user could just about identify her house as a speck on the print. The length of the average oil tanker would equal 1/16 inch. (Critical Path, pp.175-180)

Fuller also discussed (ibid., pp.184-188) the cartographical merits of triangulation and the historical-political aspects of the method's application vis-a-vis the USA and the former USSR.

For current examples of aerial photography, see, and for Spy satellite imagery,

See also Open GIS Consortium's Web Mapping Testbed Project and Google Earth.



Paul Taylor 2001