Tim de Graag | Architect | Experimenting with satellite images
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Tim de Graag, Portfolio, architecture, rehabilitation, transformation, heritage, vacancy, design
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Experimenting with satellite images




Lately I have been experimenting with the appearance of Satellite images. I use them on my website to show the location and context of my projects, because a picture offers more information about materials, colors and atmosphere then a vector based map. Nevertheless the quality of free satellite pictures is not always satisfying and the color temperature of the pictures can vary a lot. Although this article is not exactly a tutorial I would like to share some try-outs.

I started by selecting the best satellite images available. If you want to use free resources, you are often limited to use Google Maps or Bing. Nevertheless it is worth checking the internet to find out if there are better quality pictures available of the location. I found Flashearth a useful website to compare the quality of different maps easily.

In this case it turned out that Apple maps offered the best quality picture of the location in Zierikzee, the Netherlands. I took a screenshot of the selected area, by zooming in as much as possible and applying full screen mode. Don’t forget to close the labels so you can have a clean image (In google maps: right corner, settings, no labels). 

Now the photo-manipulation starts in order to create a soft and refined image. I want this to be a simple process without spending too much time on it. It turned out that some noise, a warm color filter and an overlayed image of a blue sky bring textures and colors together quite well. Moreover some highlights from an overlayed blured texture give the image slightly more depth. In the end I liked to put grayscaled pictures and colored pictures on top of each other to control the colors and highlights. I am not convinced that this is the best result possible but I hope this is a good first step towards nice satellite images on my website. I show some of the try-outs in the following pictures: