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Last week I submitted my book to the publisher’s tender mercies.  I knew I would have to “kill a lot of children” (remove sections wholesale) in the process of getting to the semifinal draft, but I never knew ho much.

My journey to writing came in two stages.

First, I learned how I must never write again with my masters thesis in landscape ecology, completed in 2000, and
Second, by wiring an awful lot on the web.

On the web, inserting a figure graphic or picture is as easy as GIS (Google image search) and use of the “IMG SRC” tag.  From my dial-up days, I know the reason for limiting  the resolution of those images.  They look plenty good on screen, so why not insert them into my chapters?  I must have put over a dozen in my 14 chapters, and they really accented the story nicely

Of course, 72 dpi on the screen is blurry on the page.  The print standard is 300 dpi.  So I had to chuck a few pictures for that reason*.

What killed more pictures was copyright.

I love websites like images.google, maps.google and Shorpy for historic and current pictures of transportation infrastructure.  Shorpy has the advantage of offering photographic quality, real life scenes from over a century ago. Google maps offers a real life and near real time picture of America, both in aerial and street views.

But Shorpy asserts copyright over these pictures that were surely not theirs to copyright.  I’m sure I’m free to hie myself up to Buffalo and take a perfectly aligned and lit picture of an automobile on a street in 1904, if I can figure out where it is.  Shorpy has done that heavy work for us, and they have a right to renumeration if we want to use the fruits of their labor.

Google, somewhat more magnanimously, allows reprint of its aerial satellite views, as long as I attribute the contributors of the satellite data.  And as long as I don’t modify the appearance of the maps in my book for commercial purposes.  Google has a very direct, convenient page for its copyrights.  Rather than presenting a whole bunch of legalese, they spell it out in a simple paragraph.

No modified aerials and no street views, on any commercial publication.

Okey doke.  So.  I’ll be writing more articles with modified google maps and street views, in support of my book coming out in 2016, but not for sale.

They are perfectly entitled to enforce their copyright, as they collected the data and made it freely available on a web site.  They want to control, update and understand the use of this data on the web, and putting it in a book takes it out of this realm. The only street view that I was could have put in the book was one  they they didn’t take from a private development that just so happened to be within 7 miles of home. The street view I composed with a low res 3D app was the amateur step cousin of all the street views I just got from screenshots.  It would not do to just print it without the 30 others.  So, I’ve got a new wellspring of things to write about.

One of next year’s to-dos is to learn the Google Maps and Earth APIs.


click to embiggen

Next up, I might talk about our upcoming trip to India and Turkey, LEED by other means, or techno-optimism.

* By the way, if you want to get the images out of a word document, change the extension from .docx to .zip.  You can then open the file as a folder and find your images within the “Media” fodder.  If you have line art from Excel, like I do,
copy the graphic out of Word
Paste it into Powerpoint
Right-click and save as picture
Choose “Extended Metafile” as the format
Open the file you just saved in Paint (yes Paint).  You will find it deliciously high resolution.
Save as .png or .jog to suit taste.

Both of these tricks work in Windows.  I should know them for Mac, but when it came time to do the technical stuff, I used Windows.  I like creating on a Mac, but MS Office is not what it needs to be on the Mac.