How You Should Be Using Google Maps

For those who do not know, I have been temporarily living in Washington DC. I think I’ve mentioned that before, but if not… yeah… cool… there’s that. Because of that, I am very used to being around monuments and memorials. I’m actually probably a bit too familiar and comfortable around them. This summer I actually had a moment when I was on the National Mall near the Washington Monument and I thought to myself, “Gosh, why are all of these people here”… then I realized this is a major tourist destination. Oops. Sometimes my powers of observation aren’t as wonderful as they should be. All of this is an incredibly long intro to the real point of today’s blog. I was on the interweb the other day and came across this incredible story that I thought I had to share.

If you go to 16°51′53″N, 11°57′13″E on Google Maps there is this cool little compass looking thing in the middle of a desert (which can be seen above). This is a man-made memorial. Now I will give you a second to catch the pieces of your now blown mind. Let’s continue. For those who don’t know, in 1989 there was a terrorist attack that took down a UTA plane over Niger. It was an incredibly tragic terrorism attacking that took the lives of everyone on board. This is significantly more macabre than anything else I’ve posted on here… but here is the uplifting and cool part of this story.

18 years later families of the victims and local inhabitants got together to build an awesome memorial. Using stones that they drove in from forever and a year away, they made a 200-foot diameter circle. Then they turned the circle into a giant airplane-filled compass. AND THEN they put 170 broken mirrors around the circle to represent each of the victims. AND THENNNNNN they put the tail wing of the plane at the end of the site to complete the memorial.


This is legitimately one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. The fact that they made a beautiful piece of art out of a terrible tragedy is awesome. And the fact that they made this beautiful piece of art visible via satellite is even cooler. I mean I have seen the funny things that people do where they stage pictures for the Street View car (which you can see here). But this takes it to a new level because it has some awesome meaning. I just can’t get over how powerful the blending of memorial, art, community, and technology is. I’m all about it and I want to do it. Can I make a play to paint the tops of skyscrapers in midtown to make art? Can we make that happen?

If you want to read more and see the rest of the pictures check out the article here.

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