I picked up this shot of a Chicago-area Target store on Tuesday (via


The initial write-up suggested that the big-box rooftop is advertising to the
satellites orbiting on high, but the subsequent note acknowledges that the
retail site is on O’Hare’s well-traveled landing (or take-off) path.
Whether it’s aimed at folks in the window seats of airplanes or other sorts of
eyes in the sky, the notion of discount retailers and other square-footage
gluttons decorating their roofs for over-passers is something out of the
(unless you count crop circles and Midwestern farmers cutting the hay-formations
to root for the local team). You’ll find a deeper collection of from-above shots
at Google Sightseeing.

Ever since my days as an insurance claims adjuster, I’ve had a slight
fascination with roofs, their ubiquity, their vital importance for the whatnots
protected by them. Okay, so "slight fascination" is an overstatement.
My first claim ever, however, as an apprentice adjuster ten years ago, involved
a tornado-lifted rolled rubber rooftop at a sugar warehouse in Bay City, Mich (rel.
to the Frankenmuth tornados in June of ’96). The disaster had sort of
created my job. In effect, the wind lifted the sealed roof, allowing the
shallow pool of water accumulated on the top-side of the rubber to drizzle into
the roof structure where it seeped along the steel beams and trickled steadily
over the entire warehouse contents. More than a million bucks worth of
rain afflicted sugar. It seems like there should be a point to this.
Maybe it’s that with logo-top roofs showing off to flight passengers and
satellite mapping services, the underconsidered roof structures become even more
complex. And so a claim for damages to the rooftop–beyond water seeping
onto pallets of sugar–would now include a loss of advertising claim. Or

Also, it brings me all the way around to a few of the sites we looked at in
GEO781 yesterday. I was especially impressed with the discussion of Dinkum
Sands, Alaska, a seasonal speck of gravel-ice. Is it land sufficient for
establishing coastal boundaries? I won’t go too far with this because it’s
part of the professor’s forthcoming book on coastal boundaries. But we
looked at the charts of the area from the 1960s (right?), using the
NOAA Historic
(search the charts for examples). We also looked at the
Memory archive at the Library of Congress
(choose maps;
MrSID viewing is enhanced with the
downloadable viewer) and the

intellicast.com US radar loops
. For next week:
ABAG on seismic
and USGS GeoNames.


  1. You were an insurance claims adjuster? How cool is that!

    There is much insurance in my background, though never officially an adjuster. I did, however, manually adjudicate a claims run-off for a health insurance plan once. Once was enough.

    An interesting “in common” I didn’t expect to find. cool.

  2. It was my first job after the BA. Worked it for 13 months in Saginaw and then Detroit. Multiple lines, but mostly property-oriented homeowner’s stuff (even completed one of the AIC courses). Thefts, fires, water-filled basements, wind-damaged roofs. Turns out it was a good first job; learned a lot and encountered some really uncanny stuff in all different places throughout eastern lower Michigan. But the demands were extreme. We were “encouraged” to bill the various company at three times our salaries. Competition over billing among adjusters was fierce. Wasn’t a good long-term match. But yeah…insurance. I think I had an idea that you’d done something along these lines, too (underwriting or liability, I was thinking).

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