Topographic World Map, Sweden’s Nationalmuseum, Latin American Law, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, October 13, 2016


Wow. An astounding new topographic map of the world is now available with imagery free to researchers. “A pair of satellites operating in tandem for five years have produced a depth map of the planet so exact you could theoretically zoom down to street level and tell an adult from a kid, or spot a breaking wave at Malibu. The immense database — some 2.6 petabytes — is available for free to researchers.”

Sweden’s Nationalmuseum has released 3000 images to Wikimedia Commons. “While the Nationalmuseum building is under renovation, only a small part of the collections is accessible to the public. To provide more opportunity for people to enjoy its artworks, the museum embarked last year on a joint project with Wikimedia Sweden. As a result, high-resolution images of some 3,000 paintings from the collections are now available for download on Wikimedia Commons as public domain. This means they are part of our shared cultural heritage and can be freely used for any purpose. The images are also now zoomable, but not currently downloadable, in Nationalmuseum’s online database.”

University of Texas at Austin: Online global database of freedom of expression case law in Latin America now available. “Judicial decisions on freedom of expression and access to information of the highest courts of 16 Latin American countries are available for free consultation now that the Freedom of Expression Case Law online database in Spanish is available.”


Google is offering new ways for you to find your voting place on election day. “Starting today and as we continue to add data from each state over the next couple of weeks, whether you’re planning to vote early or in person on November 8, just search ‘where to vote’ and Google will display a polling place location finder as well as voting ID requirements.”

Google has updated its transparency report. “Requests for user information jumped to a record total of 44,943 (up from the previous six months’ 40,677), with the U.S. leading the pack, as usual, with 30,123 of those — second place goes to Germany, then France a distant third, with India and the U.K. at her heels.”


First Draft News: Download this new guide to approaching social sources for journalists. “When more and more news breaks on social media, how should journalists carry out the ‘digital door knock’? This new guide might help.”


Fusion: When Facebook decides who’s a terrorist. “It is inevitable that technology companies seeking to connect every one in the world will find themselves at the center of geopolitical conflict. In conflicts like the Arab Spring, social media played a vital role in allowing anti-government demonstrators to organize against oppressive regimes and spread messages of dissent. But when companies like Facebook decide to weigh in—to pick a side—it can have the opposite effect.”


Pando: Good news! Twitter isn’t the new Yahoo. It’s failing in a completely new way “Give Twitter and Dorsey at least credit for one thing: It’s flailing in a way I’ve never seen a major Internet property flail before. Twitter has always described its challenge as a struggle to go mainstream. But if you are the platform of choice of a demagogue who is supported by uneducated masses…. If you are on cable news every moment of everyday… you are mainstream. The user growth isn’t a problem of taking a product ‘mainstream.’ It’s a problem of people simply not wanting to use the platform, because they either ‘don’t get it’ or find it toxic.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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