Friday, November 17, 2006

Google Launches Time Travel!

Okay, Don't Take the title literally, You can't go in to the past and finally club your high school bully or stuff like that. but if you're feeling nostalgic then you'd pleased by Google New addition to it's search engine.

Many would agree that Google's launch of 'nifty' new features are fast becoming a norm; from a project to digitise the world's books to a programme which enables users to customise their own
search engine, it's probably safe to say that we're always impressed by Google's novel ideas - but never surprised. That said, innovation and technological creativity certainly aren’t new to the search engine giant; in fact, they're rules of thumb. But what if we told you that Google is now taking its users back in time? It's true: Google has launched time travel - well, sort of. The Google Earth team has recently digitised 16 historical cartography maps to appear on the Featured Content layer of Google Earth. So, as of today, when users load the interactive maps common to Google Earth, they'll have the option of loading the innovative feature, and thus, exploring the 'old' world. Each map has been georeferenced, allowing the old maps to appear overlayed in accurate places over a modern globe. While some maps fit perfectly atop images of today's world, other older maps reveal 'geographic misconceptions' of their time. The maps span from the year 1680 to 1892, and have been selected from the David Ramsey Maps Collection of handpainted historical maps. Examples include the Lewis and Clark map of 1814, the world globe map from 1790, and a 1680 map of Tokyo. Each map represents a particular time period, with intriguing various visual stories to tell. "It is wonderful to see the cutting edge technology of Google Earth introduce people to the geographic history of our world in a new and innovative way," said Ramsey of the Google Earth Historical Map Project. The success of this project seems to mark yet another competitive streak between Google and Microsoft. Microsoft had recently released an updated version of their map programme software, Virtual Earth, which enables high resolution 3D cities to appear on their maps. Google's project not only enhances the power of maps, but demonstrates how the internet can be used to improve geographic and historical knowledge through innovative re-use. What would the explorers who made these maps hundreds of years ago have to say of Google's venture? Surely, they'd be amazed at the creative union of such historic masterpieces and contemporary visual tools - the wondrous digital merging of old and new.

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