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google maps

Mar 16 2011

A New Way to Explore History

by Joseph M

I’m a total geek for maps and history, so when my brother showed me this nifty webpage I couldn’t help but think it was really cool. The concept is a collaborative effort utilizing a Google programming tool which combines Google Maps with dynamic scrolling timelines to create “timemaps”; The one mentioned at the beginning of this post describes World War II, but the site also has a timemap for the American Civil War, and one on the Napoleonic Wars is in the works. The events on the timeline have brief explanations as well as links to articles in Wikipedia which flesh out the material. You can read more about the project here.

These innovative learning tools are just one part of a website chiefly involved in mapping the exploits of the main characters in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin series. I’m not personally familiar with the author’s work, but after exploring the maps I must admit that I’m becoming more interested. Luckily, the library has lots of O’Brian’s novels available for checkout, such as Master and Commander. We also have plenty of material about the various wars mentioned above, as well as conventional atlases to peruse. Embrace your inner history geek!


Jan 8 2009

Judging a Place by its Cover

by Jimmy L

Can you recognize these legendary album covers?  If so, what about where these photos were actually taken?  Word magazine has created a Google Maps mashup called Album Atlas that makes it really easy to find out, so that you can be the most knowledgeable guy or gal at the music store (at least concerning this topic).  You can click anywhere on the map with a blue flag and it will show you an album cover taken at that location.  Alternately, you may click on an album title from the full list, and it will show you the location on the map.  Continue reading this post if you want the answers to the above questions… [read the rest of this post…]


Jun 16 2008

Google Street View–Cool or Creepy?

by Nolan R

Even as a librarian and a firm believer in freedom of information, I have to admit I’m both fascinated and weirded out by Google‘s newest addition to their mapping product. I was trying to verify a zip code last week and since I was in a hurry, I just typed it quickly into Google. If you haven’t used Google for maps or directions, it’s very simple–you just type the address into the Google search box. Alternately, you can click on “Maps” and go there directly. This time, something new popped up along with the address and map–something called “Street View,” complete with a thumbnail photo. Curious, I clicked on it and felt a little like I’d invaded someone’s privacy. I then typed in my own address, and lo and behold, there I was staring at a photo of my own house from the street. You can click on the screen and rotate the view 360 degrees, as well as travel up and down the street. We think our picture is from the fall, because you can see pumpkins on our porch.  Which means sometime last fall, the Google car went down our street. Our cars are in the driveway, and our garbage can is out by the street, so we figure it must have been a Sunday afternoon.  Here’s a link to the street view of the Decatur Library.

Read more about the how, why, and where here. You can see a picture of the Google camera car, and see what they have to say about privacy concerns. I think Google’s Street View could be really useful in some situations, like checking out a new neighborhood while house-hunting (especially in distant cities), visiting a new doctor’s office, or driving to any address you’ve never visited before.  Google has a short instructional video and more info HERE.