Ming the Mechanic:
Open Maps

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Open Maps2004-08-06 09:42
20 comments
by Flemming Funch

Jon Udell quoting Alan Durning:
Play back the last 10,000 years sped up, so that a millenium passes by every minute. For more than seven minutes, the screen displays what looks like a still photograph -- the blue planet Earth, its lands swathed in a mantle of trees. After seven and a half minutes, there's a tiny clearing of forest around Athens. This is the flowering of classical Greece. Little else changes. At nine minutes -- 1,000 years ago -- the forest gets thinner in parts of Europe, Central America, China and India. Twelve seconds from the end, two centuries ago, the thinning spreads a little farther in Europe and China. Six seconds from the end, eastern North America is deforested. This is the Industrial Revolution.
And of course, in the last 3 seconds things get to look really alarming.

Anyway, Jon talks about David Rumsey, a philanthropist who collects historical maps, scans them at high resolution, and makes them freely viewable on the Internet. He gave a speech at an open source conference. He says:
I thought about donating it to a university, but their libraries focus on preservation, they'd have put my collection in a vault and there would have been no access. Along comes the Internet, and I found we could do even more with the digital content than with the originals. We serve over 7000 visitors a day. A typical map library will serve 200 visitors a year.
Historical maps, who cares about that? Well, he's apparently put a lot of work into providing some very impressive high tech tools for exploring them. One can sequence maps for different time periods, to see how things change. One can overlay maps on each each other, including overlaying old maps on modern 3D elevation maps, and you can then take a virtual flythru through an old map.

Maps are a good thing when they help us see the world and our history more clearly. Which they do much better in online interactive form than as paper in the basement of a university.


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20 comments

12 Aug 2004 @ 21:37 by Frowefro @203.54.167.135 : Industrial Revolution Video
How do I obtain and view such maps.  


22 Jun 2005 @ 12:47 by rayon : Submerged Ruins
A map of submerged civilisations and cities and their remaining constructions would be useful (seriously). And also I know of many projects planting thousands of trees in reafforestation work, this should help the green parts.  


19 Dec 2014 @ 17:11 by Johnny @190.198.4.48 : xUnxeYpqulGjuWVkpVe
Hey Jason,For a new user, you sure have some great (and somewhat adnceavd) questions on the software. I am impressed.Downsizing PP icons: You don't even need Photoshop. It can be easily done in MS Paint. Open, resize and save as 23-bit BMP format.If you want to search for Canadian addresses try adding ,Canada the first time. That'll switch to the Canadian address parser. Example. instead of 123 main st, Toronto try 123 main st, Toronto, ON, CanadaRevert to saved: There is no way to undo a delete in this case. However you can close the map and it will ask you if you want to save the changes. Say no, the reopen and you'll be back to the way it was the last time you saved the map.Zoom to selected area: Right-click'n'drag a small rectangle that encompasses the area you would like to zoom into. Then left click inside the rectangle and BOOM! you're right there. There are other ways but that is my personal favorite method. Double-clicking on the map is also pretty easy. Shift+double-click zooms out.Stop the Autozoom: While this is autozoom to show the entire route is the way it is design you can easily return to your previous view by clicking Alt+back arrow. Getting Rid of the directions: Ctrl+u will toggle the directions pane off. Likewise, the steering wheel icon on the toolbar will also collapse the directions pane at the top of the map.Have a great weekend.Larry  


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That's an inetglilent answer to a difficult question xxx  


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Other stories in
2014-09-27 00:04: You must be an expert by now
2014-09-26 15:15: Brevity
2011-11-06 21:33: Counting what counts
2011-01-23 13:46: Authenticity
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