Visual translations

In summer I sometimes lay on the grass with my kid and look up at the sky. And we tell each other what kind of shapes we see. Turtles, birds, dogs, horses — indeed, mostly animals. We see shapes we recognise.

The Google Street View car doesn’t just take pictures of streets, it also looks up and takes pictures of the sky. Katie Rose Pipkin created a website that shows these pictures. But it doesn’t just show them, it also translates them. It does so by virtually laying OCR software on the grass and asking it what it sees. On the coordinates 44.296576,43.168091000000004 for instance it sees

. _\ J . . < _ 2m

I see several smileys when I look at those characters.