Special Classifieds Feature

Buy Washington Post Inauguration newspapers, books, and more

Giant Map Is Unveiled to Explain Giant Plan

How do you plan for an event that some are calling the largest in U.S. history? You get a map that's almost as big as the city itself.

Okay, that's an exaggeration. But at a morning news conference, the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee showed reporters a 40-foot-by-40-foot map that they are using to plan for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration Jan. 20, going over things as diverse as security to portable toilets to video screens.

It was like a giant play area for kids, complete with models of the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol and the White House, and color-coded grids. (National Mall in green! Ellipse in light blue!)

As for news, the biggest was probably that planners will set up 5,000 portable toilets at the Mall and along the parade route down Pennsylvania Ave, as well as 10 video walls for people to watch the swearing in and 100 loudspeakers. Also, people who do not have inaugural tickets will not have to go through security to get to the Mall, though police said they will conduct random spot checks. (The 240,000 ticket-holders, who will have a better view closer to the Capitol, will have to go through security and cannot bring a long list of items, including backpacks, strollers and umbrellas.)

As for the size of the expected crowds, planners were mum. But since National Park Service regulations stipulate 1 toilet for every 300 people, it appears that planners expect 1.5 million. That would beat the record 1.2 million who watched Lyndon B. Johnson take the oath of office in Jan. 1965.

By David Nakamura

The Armed Forces Inaugural Committee holds a briefing The 40-foot-by-40-foot map has models of the Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol and White House. (Bill O'Leary)
The Armed Forces Inaugural Committee holds a briefing Photographers surround the map. (Bill O'Leary)
The Armed Forces Inaugural Committee holds a briefing Officials announced plans 5,000 portable toilets, 10 video walls, and 100 loudspeakers. (Bill O'Leary)
The Armed Forces Inaugural Committee holds a briefing Right, Maj. Gen. Erroll Schwartz, commander of the D.C. National Guard, takes questions during the briefing. (Bill O'Leary)

By Mike McPhate  |  December 18, 2008; 3:08 PM ET  | Category:  Crowds , Parade , Security , Swearing-in Ceremony
Previous: Del. Norton: D.C. Needs $30 Million to Cover Inauguration Costs | Next: Inaugural Ball Watch: Heroes Red, White & Blue Ball

Add Inauguration Watch to Your Site
Stay on top of the latest from Inauguration Watch! This easy-to-use widget is simple to add to your own Web site and will update every time there's a new installment of Inauguration Watch.
Get This Widget >>


Can the writers for The Onion just re-publish this article or is this really an article from The Onion?

Posted by: Southeasterner | December 18, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

How much did this stupidity cost? How can you get a full view of the city if half of it is 30 feet away from you? Lord, save us from money wasters!

Posted by: mcleangirl | December 18, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Any word yet on where access to the Mall, etc. will be, you know, where the security checkpoints will be set up? Also where the exits will be?

Posted by: comesthesun2 | December 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I hope there is space set aside for the homeless; it would not be a DC event without profane rants about the government and white folk.

Posted by: CubsFan | December 18, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Seems like using Google Earth would have made much more sense. With GE, you can access it from anywhere. You can drill down or up. You can have multiple people updating assets and conditions using multiple devices--PCs, handhelds, gps receivers, cell phones. You don't have to stand on a ladder to see it.

I mean, really, is this the best we can do? Is this how the US military is commanding its assets in Iraq, with a room-sized map? This is like a giant Risk board. This reminds me of WW II movies when they show the allies moving ships around with sticks.

Posted by: dgloo | December 18, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This is the "hard copy" to augment Google Earth and other virtual systems. Get a clue Luddites...I just ran my back-ups for data that I also have on hard-copy in file cabinets. Give these people a chance. If they underplanned and some folks got killed or hurt, you trolls would be all over them. I am glad that they seem to be taking the onslaught seriously. It shouldn't matter if your ideology is left right or center, you should want this to go off without incident. Don't you right-wingers care how we look to the world-wide audience? You ultra-lefties that have your knickers in a twist that Obama hasn't 100% fulfilled all your dreams...Get over it.

I voted for the man hoping that he would grab the wind-blown tatters of this land and knit something like a real country back together again..I think that's what he's trying to do.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | December 18, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Please visit TheLongestPeaceMarch.com, follow the link, and then apply all of the above to [thn/]...

Posted by: randomsample | December 18, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Look closely. There's strategic information on this map that hasn't been released to the public yet. Now if only one of those photographers had backed up and taken a shot of the whole thing...

Posted by: franko2 | December 18, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company