From this week's City Strobe:
Eye in the sky
Thinking of adding a new bowling alley onto the manse? Be prepared to close the skylight when you're bowling naked. And be prepared to pay taxes on the addition. That's because Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer just bought a new $200,000 "pictometry" software system that will use 3D aerial photography to make sure your house's square footage is accurate for tax purposes. The additional property taxes could rake in $300 million for the county, once Lindauer gets a load of all the new room additions, garages, pools, cabanas, marijuana solaria, billiard rooms and meth lab add-ons.
The software examines aerial photos from a 40-degree angle on all sides, so don't try to hide your new den behind one of those Wile E. Coyote painted landscapes, either. The system currently uses photos from March, when Big Brother snapped every building in the county using digital cameras and a Cessna airplane. If you think the spycams are a creepy invasion of your privacy, fuggadaboudit. Google, Microsoft and other companies have been documenting the planet from space for years. Last week, Google raised some eyebrows with its new "Street View" tool, which shows photos of nose pickers and hookers in several major cities. (Check it out at maps.google.com.) Proponents are quick to point out many humanitarian benefits of pictometry, including firefighting, police, and disaster-recovery applications. Say cheese!