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3D-mapping at Time Magazine

joelertolaMalofiej 2002: Joe started out quietly and confessed he wasn’t really comfortable with speaking to a larger audience.
‘I apologize, I don’t have any jokes to lighten things up’. – Laughter. Yes, Joe lives in the same city as Woody Allen.

The topic of 3D-maps was rather technical, but most people got fascinated by the results – if a little fainthearted to learn how much work it took to be able to do maps like Time does.

Joe showed some of his personal map-favourites: Handpainted maps by favourite artist R. M. Chapin Jr.
Especially an old map of Iceland meant something to Joe, and he had now tried to recreate the feel of it with his 3D-mapping technique.

Joe then went on to demonstrate how he works. He has a graphic, which shows the entire process on his website.
Recently he, and Time, had wanted to get access to datasets covering Afghanistan and had found these at Eastview Cartographic. The data-sets for these maps include lots of work and are based on Russian military maps. They have to be bought at a ‘substantial price’, but Time had chosen to pay for the privilege.
The data-sets were later presented to Newsweek at a cheap price, now the work was done anyway. – Needless to say the people at Time wasn’t too happy.

Even if Joe Lertola described himself as a ‘map-expert’ he found time doing other 3D-stuff also. In fact polygonal modelling of objects was a real pleasure to him: ‘If you have a couple of weeks and some detailed blueprints of a helicopter, you can have a lot of fun …’

The next day Time Magazine won a gold-medal at the awards-ceremony for Joe’s graphics done on ‘Raising the Kursk’.

(This article was first published in 2002 in the former version of