The Inauguration from Space

A view of the National Mall from space during the inauguration of Barack Obama, the United States' 44th President. I'm not sure what time this was taken, but it looks like people were still pouring in, so probably sometime before 11:30 am on January 20, 2009. Thanks to NASAWatch for pointing the way. Some details that I can comment on, having been one of the great unwashed masses (click pictures for larger view):

Getting off of the metro north of the mall, we were directed to the 3rd Street tunnel, which goes South under the mall. After a very long march, we found ourselves in daylight with nobody telling the people which way to go.

We headed west and at 7th street were told "The Mall was closed". Well, the red hatted volunteer was overstating things. He meant that the portion of the mall that 7th street leads to was closed...i.e. it was filled to capacity. But as you can see in the picture above, this portion of the mall was relatively uncrowded. We continued to 12th street, where we were told to keep going to 14th street, where we finally made our entrance.

Check out the good seats. When the announcement came for everyone to "please be seated" following the anthem, everyone on the mall laughed except for these folks.

So, there I am. I'm the one with the black hat. No problem to access the porta potties...only had 3 or 4 people in line for each one. Notice the shadow created behind the media booth. If you were in that zone, you couldn't see the jumbo tron.

The Washington Monument was behind me. From the vantage point of space, it looks like a lot of ants flowing out. The geometry based on jumbo tron positioning is interesting. Obviously, with a few more placed around the monument, more people could have filled this space. Lessons learned for the future, assuming we'll ever have another massive event like this.

Check out CNN for an interactive map. Better yet, if you have Google Earth, then open it up and load this kml file from geodetyx.

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