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Getting Around Mall Hell

March 1, 2010

Like many males I have no love for malls, or shopping in general, so if I do need to go to a mall I want my destination mapped out with at least 2 quick escape routes. With the increased accuracy and availability of aerial photography and decent maps of shopping centres it has become possible to do this planning from my desk.

I recently had to make a trip into Sylvia Park, New Zealand’s 2nd biggest mall (behind Westfield Albany), and wanted to see if I could make the exact location of every business in the shopping centre available on Zenbu to aid my hit and run. I thought I’d share how I ended up doing this.

After going down a few rabbit holes learning about the ins and outs of georefererencing, downloading various free software packages and struggling miserably, I opened up Google Earth and realised that is was going to be dead simple.

Google Earth allows you to Add an Image Overlay, so I grabbed a screenshot of the Sylvia Park map from the PDF available on their website, trimmed it to size, saved as a JPG and added it to Google Earth. You can use the bright green lines around the image to stretch, rotate and position the image on the map lining it up with the easily recognisable aerial imagery, which gave me something like this.

Now we have the grid reference laid transparently over the imagery, the next trick was how to grab the coordinates of a location. Easy Ways To Get Latitude/Longitude For A Screen Point In Google Earth pointed the way to using the nifty little Google Earth Position application and a crosshair overlay so I could position the map correctly.

There was a little bit of drudge work to grab the coordinates but now we have all 200+ shops from Sylvia Park in Zenbu with (pretty) exact locations. Nifty!

  1. March 1, 2010 5:08 pm

    Men and women shop differently. The Zenbu mall visit strategy method is more useful for men than women. Here is the difference explained:

  2. Hoogy permalink
    March 8, 2010 9:07 am

    Nice, that should make finding shops much easier in the mall.

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