Open Maps

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Friday morning's keynote at OSCON is from David Rumsey, who's working
on library software to share content (mostly images). His map collection
is amazing...for example he overlays old maps (say the
original circular plan for Washington DC) onto successively more modern
ones. You can see how San Francisco filled in the bay, how Portland
highrises are built over what used to be a marina. It also combines
collections, for example maps of Japan (some scroll maps of roads from
1690) combined with art and images, or with modern photos. Or, for
example, 32 oblique (from a perspective) handdrawn woodblock style maps
of a city stitched together and pannable to form a 19th century 3D full
map of the city. Some of the maps are georectified (automatically re-projected
(warped) to match modern scale or projection) maps. This makes the cool overlays possible.

Even cooler, once that's done he overlays modern 3D elevations on them and suddenly the old handrawn ancient map becomes a 3D relief, and you can even fly through it! It looks exactly like those expensive movie effects where somebody flies into the page of a book. You have to see this. A Flash demo is here.

Some of the content is also shared with the internet (at least, Google
images). This is cool. Just for one stupid example, you could produce
a full imagery tour from your European vacation, overlaid with ancient
papyrus maps of the areas you traveled, combined with art or ancient
representations of the same systems. It's very slick. I don't know
how fast the other art, images, or maps could be pulled over the net
though; the quality is very high.

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Sara said:

Oh, CHad would love that stuff. He loves maps. I bought him a map of the world when I was in Japan. Being a stupid American, it had never occurred to me that all maps I had ever seen had North America right down the middle of the map. Well, in Japan of course, Japan is in teh middle of the map. It give you a great perspective.
I would love to decorate our 'library' all in maps all over the wall. Does everyone remembr the hot-air balloon wallpaper Mom put in teh Dining Room once? I grew to love that, and now I want whole walls of like a world map, ora nature scene. Hmm, maybe one of my artsy sis-in-laws could help me...

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This page contains a single entry by Doug Treder published on July 30, 2004 9:30 AM.

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