Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Shocking Retreat of Swiss Glaciers

Last month John Nelson discovered a really interesting new use for a georeference tool. There are lots of georeference tools, such as Map Warper, which can be used to digitize vintage maps by overlaying them on top of a modern interactive map. In Misusing the Georeference Tool for Historic Image Alignment John shows how he used Esri's georeference tool to align a vintage photograph of the Mer de Glace glacier with a modern photograph which was taken from almost the exact same spot.

By aligning the old and new photos more accurately John was able to provide a much more effective 'before & after' visualization of the glacier's demise.

It is a real shame that Reuters didn't copy John Nelson's approach in their article New photos vs old: comparisons show dramatic Swiss glacier retreat. The article includes some stunning images of the dramatic loss of Swiss glaciers. Unfortunately these photos are presented really terribly by Reuters in their article.

Photographer Denis Balibouse searched through a number of online libraries to find historical, vintage photographs of Swiss glaciers. He then traveled around Switzerland to try and recreate the exact same views as they can be seen today. The result is a series of old and new photos which reveal the drastic reduction of the glaciers as a result of global heating. Unfortunately the Reuters article really doesn't present the old and new photographs in a way that allows for easy side-by-side comparisons. This is a real shame as the photos themselves are really fantastic (and really disturbing).

You can view a number of better visualizations of the retreat of Switzerland's glaciers in Mapping Shrinking Glaciers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You can find a better presentation in the article here (in French, but there is the pictures):!preferred/1/package/71847/pub/102161/page/5