I spent last weekend in Boston with a friend and taking advantage of the high-speed connection down there I was showing him Google Earth. I think Google Earth is one of the cooler things out there but I haven’t used it much as dial-up won’t allow it.
Anyhow one of the things he wanted to do was look at Ephesus in Turkey, an ancient ruin, he used to live near there. We couldn’t find it as he had forgotten the name of the town it is near so I tried to find it using the search function. All Google Earth could come up with were things like the Ephesus Bar and Grill. We looked at the tours that Google Earth has built in, things like Disney World, the Grand Canyon, nothing very exciting. We did go look at satellite photos of Everest, he liked that. he loved the way one can tip the photo so as to see how it looks from the side.
We wished that someone smarter than we are would come up with a module that would have the latitude and longitude of archeological sites of interest, sort of a tour of the ancient world, now there would be a thing worth doing!
I thought of how I hear teachers complaining all the time at the school where I work that students do not know the simplest geography. Do those teachers ever use Google Earth I wonder? I thought of that later in the week when I ran across Widgetbox, I think I read about it in Wired. Widgetbox is a “directory and syndication platform for web widgets for blogs and other web pages.” I found there a blidget (widget for blogs) called the mapsack.com blidget which allows you to position a Google map where you want it in relation to the earth and then generate code which you can then insert into your blog or web page. Voila, an embedded map or satellite photo of just where you are talking about in your text. You can change scale, manipulate it, all that. I put one on Write This Book, showing Bogie Channel in the Florida Keys as that’s where the story is stuck so far.
I showed it to my son. “Look Chris, if you were writing a paper you could put in a map and even satellite photos of the area you were writing about!” I was very excited.
“Papers are printed, Mom.” he told me. “That wouldn’t be any good.”
“Papers don’t have to be printed” I pointed out, “Even if you write them in Word, if you’re online you can insert these if you save as a web page.”
He was not impressed, not excited, couldn’t see the use in it at all. He couldn’t even see the cool factor! The child’s even more of a Luddite than I am!