Mirror Worlds


A Mirror World is a representation of the real world in digital form. It attempts to map real-world structures in a geographically accurate way. Mirror worlds offer a utilitarian software model of real human environments and their workings.1


The idea of displaying different elements of data on a piece of paper was first coined by French cartographer Louis Alexandre Bethier in 1781. created a map of the Battle of Yorktown Depicted the movements of the troops position throughout the country
and is the 1st time two types of information were written on a map. This revolutionized the way maps are used now and is the basis of what has now evolved into mirror worlds.2

The first real version of a mirror world was built in 1967 by the Canadian Government. These early mirror worlds were based on cartographic surveys and had informational overlays. 3 In the 1990’s, mirror worlds started to be developed from satellite and aircraft imagery, which proved to be much more accurate than cartographic surveys. Many of these maps are being augmented by ground-based imagery (cars mounted with scanning cameras). 4

Multiple environmental conservation projects have been launched based off of Google Earth's analytics. 5

Notable People

David Gelernter - known for contributions to parallel computation and for books on topics including computed worlds (Mirror Worlds) 6

Notable Mirror Worlds

Google Earth
Microsoft Virtual Earth

Links with the Metaverse Roadmap

One link between the virtual worlds and mirror worlds is the refinement of digital models of environments. In a sense, Google Earth is a virtual world. However, because it is based off of the real world, it is also a mirror world. Mirror worlds and augmented reality collide in games. Example: Pokemon Go


1. Weitao Che , Hui Lin & Mingyuan Hu (2011) Reality-virtuality fusional campus
environment: An online 3D platform based on OpenSimulator, Geo-spatial Information Science,
14:2, 144-149, DOI: 10.1007/s11806-011-0458-3
2. http://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/C0022
3. http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/fall12articles/origins-of-the-canada-geographic-information-system.html
4. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19475681003700831?src=recsys
5. https://www.google.com/earth/outreach/special-projects/conservation/
6. Gelernter, David H. Mirror Worlds, Or, the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox: How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print.

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