Saturday, September 29, 2007
Users of ESRI's ArcGIS Explorer have recently discovered a pentagon shaped building while searching through aerial views of the Washington, DC area.
The unremarkable resemblance the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense has to a five-sided polygon caught many government officials off guard. The secret is out now after the abnormally shaped building was spotted last week and it became a hot topic posted all over GIS blogs nationally, including The Florida GIS Data blogspot. Soon afterwards, the storyline was picked up by media outlets and it has since progressed into international news.
A select few high-level government insiders have often referred to the massive building as "The Pentagon", but the nickname was never public knowledge. Government officials will not discuss the issue openly. They have only stated that the shape of the building is "not an architectural flaw" from when the building was originally designed and constructed during the early 1940's.
Nearly sixty-five years since it's completion, rumors still abound that "The Pentagon" was originally suppose to be in the shape of a circle, however funding and time constraints resulted in the construction firm having to cut corners, or in this case, cut curves. The construction firm did not think that government officials would ever notice the minor modification. It's quite apparent now that with the recent surge of online mapping applications, the public will have a hand in catching all curve cutters for the foreseeable future.
The United States Department of Defense realizes that the five-sided building may offend some people whom find an aerial view of a four-sided, square shaped building more visually pleasing. As a result, the department has discussed "doing the right thing" and plans to spend $860 million of tax payers dollars to camouflage the nearly 29 acres of building rooftop, thus essentially making the entire building "invisible" from an aerial or satellite view.
One potential cover-up plan being discussed includes transplanting redwood trees from the Redwood National Park in California. Preliminary calculations estimate that it will take 267 redwood trees to cover the entire surface area of the building's rooftop. The only good news for tax payers whom will be footing the bill is that the trees, at over 300 feet tall and with an average 430 foot wide canopy, will drastically cut down on the building's AC electric bill. One government official anticipates that the full expenditure will be recovered through electric bill savings by the year 3780.
Curve cutters beware.....mapping technology is here to stay and someone is bound to spot your "minor modifications".