Friday, March 5, 2010

Google Maps as accurate as year-long NTSB investigation

If I was that worker, I'd get the hell out of there
before someone starts moving the train without warning.
NTSB has released some very exciting documents related to the ongoing investigation into the June 22, 2009 Metro crash that killed 9 people. One of those is a line-of-sight analysis which concludes that the operator would not have had a full view of the rear of the stopped train until they were approximately 470 feet away. The investigation is not expected to be completed for several more months. The picture here is from the report and shows the line of sight from the train.

Metro line of sight
My analysis included
this awesome photoshopped
aerial view. Where's
yours, NTSB? Huh?
Apparently, it takes the NTSB about a year and god knows how much money to do what I was able to accomplish in about 30 minutes using Google Maps. On June 24, two days after the crash, I posted this analysis of the accident site using only google maps and concluded that "...the operator couldn't even have seen the train until she was within about 500 feet of it!

Yes, I am indeed quoting myself. Thank you, thank you. So with Photoshop and the Internet, I came up with the exact same conclusion as NTSB, almost down to the foot.

Front Seat of the Red LineI also managed to duplicate those scientific-looking pictures, such as the one you see above, using my cell phone on my way home from work one day, here. Now admittedly, their picture is slightly better because the train it's taken from is not moving, which is evident by the Metro safety worker on the tracks in the picture. I give them points for having Metro workers present, it definitely adds a little "je ne sais quois" to the photo.

Metro StrollHowever, I would like to submit the following picture from the Silver Spring metro station, which does involve Metro workers walking in the tracks. I realize this has nothing to do with the crash, but I think you will agree the composition is much better than NTSB's pictures.

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