Looking forward to the future of journalism

That sinking feeling: A bird’s eye view of an unstable neighborhood

Bing makes online maps that offer a bird’s eye view of a landscape, creating a 3D image effect. This is a nice feature for big news stories like this one:

Authorities evacuated about 80 homes in a Northwest Side neighborhood Sunday when ground caved in behind several houses, pushing earth down a 30-foot hill and into two retaining walls that cracked and threatened residences below.

No one was injured, and agencies acted quickly to address the endangered homes near West Hausman Road and Loop 1604.

Describing the collapse as a “slope failure,” authorities at a Sunday night meeting told residents from The Hills at Rivermist subdivision that in some areas the crevices grew to 12 to 15 feet deep and 6 to 8 feet wide. But they didn’t know the cause.

The interactive map lets you take a look at how the land was sculpted when the neighborhood was still under construction. I saw this map on our home page and was floored by how effectively it showed the hill in question and the wall that collapsed.