Shotwell Project

  1. landscape fabric, latex paint, satellite imagery, 22' x 68' – 2010
  2. satellite maps before and after installation, June 2007 – March 2010
  3. Landscaper's weed control fabric was painted to create a canvas covering for the roof and deck of the house with a digital camouflage image of an empty lot. Two photos were taken from different satellite sources before and after the project was completed. The satellites that take these photographs continually pass over the San Francisco Bay Area about every 100 minutes and shoot up to a dozen images of each location from different angles as they fly by. The photographic resolution for consumer purposes is roughly 6" per pixel but much higher resolutions are possible.

    Special thanks to Robert Eadie of IntraSearch Inc. for coordinating satellite imagery. Paint for this project was donated by Sunset Scavenger Company in San Francisco.

  4. Some background about surveillance satellites

    What we know today as Google Maps was originally a military project called Corona, a satellite surveillance system implemented by the CIA during the Cold War for spying on Russia and China. It was developed for commercial purposes in 2001 by a computer gaming software startup in Mountain View California called Keyhole, Inc.

    Keyhole expanded in 2003 with additional funding from Sony and In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm owned by the CIA. It was acquired by Google in 2004. While Google has largely repurposed these tools for public consumption, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency continues to be its only named customer.

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