Monday, May 16, 2011

Taking the Measure of Northern Pass's New Visual Simulations

Northern Pass has added some new "visual simulations" of towers to the "News & Info" page of its website. Let's take a look.

Here is the "visual simulation" of existing poles (left) and the proposed new transmission towers (right) at Forest Lake Road, Whitefield. (There's another pole to the right the same height as the ones on the left). Those towers sure are ugly, aren't they? But let's stick to the numbers for now. Those towers are about to get bigger (and uglier).

The existing front pole on the left measures 2-1/8" high in this browser; the simulated front tower on the right measures 3" high. Let's round it off to a 2:3 ratio. Do the math. Let's assume that the front pole is 56'; the front tower must then be 84'. That seems about right.

But, the legend tells us that the visible poles in the picture are 43'-56.5'. That must mean that the one in front is 56.5", the one in back 43'. Right? Hard to know. The visible towers are 80'-100'. That must mean that the one in front is 100', the one in back 80'. Right? Hard to know. But let's go with it.

The legend tells us the front pole is 56.5' and the front tower is 100' (approximately 1:2 ratio). But when we measured them by ruler earlier in the simulation, if the front pole was 56', the front tower was 84' (a 2:3 ratio). In the simulation, the tower only looked 33% higher than the pole, not almost 50% higher.

So what's wrong here? This must be it: objects may be larger or smaller than they appear in the simulations!

But which "objects" are smaller and which larger? Never mind. It's all still "preliminary":