Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Birds Eye Views of Four Corners

Hello all.  I was on vacation in Ireland this past week, which is why the blog and the Facebook page sat idle for several days.  The trip was great, and I met several of my extended family who still live in Ireland.  While I had a lot of fun, its nice to be back home again.  I flew back last Sunday on an Aer Lingus flight from Shannon to Boston, where I connected to a jetBlue flight to DC (landing at Reagan National Airport).  The flight path took me directly over Four Corners.   

As my flight left Boston for DCA (that's National's airport code) I checked the weather in DC to see what the wind was like.  The skies were calm, so I figured the plane would approach DC from the north (the standard River Visual approach), flying over Montgomery County and along the Potomac River to the airport.  I sat on the left side of the plane to be in position to get pictures of Four Corners and DC from the window, since the right side would face upper Montgomery County and Northern Virginia.  The flight roughly paralleled I-95 all the way from Boston to DC, and as the plane was over Laurel, it began to turn west to get in position for final approach.  My assumption proved to be correct, and I had a great views of downcounty from my window.  Here are some pictures I took of Four Corners and surrounding areas in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.                   

Looking south and west down Colesville Road through Four Corners.  The intersection is at the center, with the most notable building being Blair High School.  The Beltway can be seen running across the middle of the image.  All photos by the author.

Another view of the intersection, this one looking east down University Boulevard. 

Another eastward view down University Boulevard.  Northwood High School is clearly visible at bottom center, as are those high rises near Kemp Mill.  The green swath in the middle of the image is Sligo Creek.  Downtown Silver Spring is at top right, with Georgia Avenue visible running north from there.   

The FDA campus, looking south towards Hillandale and Adelphi.  Hillandale's commercial district and Beltway interchange are visible in the middle of the picture.  Archives II (large white building) is at top left along Pepco's high tension transmission lines.
A slightly different view of the FDA campus and the apartment complexes of White Oak

A broader view of the area.  The road in the center is Route 29.   

I normally avoid the phrase "bird's eye view" because it is often inaccurately used to describe images taken at nadir (looking straight down) instead of oblique images like these.  However, these pictures definitely fall within the definition of a birds eye view, so I'll use the expression (and that's my GIS tangent for the day). 

I'm glad I was able to get these pictures, since I rarely fly anywhere and this flight path happened to pass right over Four Corners.  I encourage anyone flying in or out of DC to look for their community on the ground using landmarks.  It's easier than it seems, and it's a great perspective (as long as pesky clouds don't get in the way).  

Enjoy the pictures.             


  1. These pictures are really awesome! With all the tree cover, Four Corners almost looks like a sleepy little village!

  2. Amazing, pretty much my entire childhood encompassed in a one aerial photo