The New Openness?

This photograph was taken at 11:19 AM on January 20th. It’s very cool that we can get 1 meter resolution photographs from space. What really struck me about this photo was.. well, take a look as you scroll down…

Obama inauguration from space.jpg

What really struck me about this is the open space. What’s up with that? Reports were that people were being turned away. Why all the visible ground? Were those areas still filling in? Did security procedures keep away that many?

You can click through for a much larger version at the Boston Globe. [update: even larger version at GeoEye, purveyors of fine space imagery.]

4 thoughts on “The New Openness?

  1. People were being turned away from the security gates round the ticketed seating areas. Those are the ones within pistol shot of the podium.
    The other crowds are huddled round the Jumbotron TVs scattered across the mall. These were placed so that the people would spread out somewhat. No TV viewing meant no crowd.

  2. I think the blobs of people are where the jumbotron TVs were — people eventually figured out there was no way they were going to actually *see* anything, so they just bunched up in front of the big ol’ TVs.

  3. also keep in mind that this was 45 minutes before the ceremony when people were still filtering in.
    It filled in more in those 45 minutes, as you could see from watching TV.
    That said, let’s hope the Obama people learned that stupid security is not security; it’s just stupid.

  4. I was in the middle of the third group east of the monument – North is ? in that orientation. All of the groupings were due to topography and public address / media placement. I don’t know why there is such a small gathering in front of the Air & Space Museum. I wasn’t even in rifle range of the Capitol, the mall isn’t quite flat, and didn’t notice any security presence before the inauguration.
    We tried to leave, northbound, during the benediction only to find that the mall was closed off. National Guard (or U.S. Army?) troops prevented anyone from leaving the mall en masse, forcing everyone through small exit gates on the south side, trouncing through bushes and ivy surrounding the Smithsonian, and generally being a zero-gain hassle.

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