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Postmodern History Map

A new way to organize history
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(+5, -1)
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This idea isn't just half-baked ... it's almost brown. But, I need some feedback. I'm making a site that will allow users to upload a map and add 'events' to it. The events can include photographs and comments, possibly even sound clips and such.

You can choose to share your map and to link it to similar maps. You can make user groups and share all of your events. You can view events from any area as a time line. Or look at events from any time period as a map. You can chain events and make a map that shows how the event chain moved through space (or didn't.)

It's "postmodern" because <i>anyone</i> can contribute and because events can countian conflicting accounts and information. (Just like real history!) I'm going to using it for my online diary becuse I want to see where I was when I was thinking or seeing something (personal obssesion... sorry) But it has lots of other uses...

Right now I'm planning on making so that people can only use six different pre-chosen maps because I'm still not certain what the best way to link maps is.

So waddaya think? Any ideas? Features to add?

futurebird, Jun 28 2001

HypArt http://www.hypart.de/cgi-bin/HypArt.sh
A collaborative image creation site. [Dog Ed, Jun 28 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Historyworld http://www.historyworld.net/
Interesting method of history presentation on Bamber Gascoigne's site [Lemon, Jun 28 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

inxight software http://www.inxight.com/
no, i don't work for them. [mihali, Jun 28 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

GIS http://www.usgs.gov...arch/gis/title.html
Not practical for the web or for small budgets, but the way it stores and represents things might suggest ideas. [Monkfish, Jun 28 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Part of a traditional historical atlas http://www.uoregon....as/europe/maps.html
Some maps are Flash animations, which is sort of interesting. [Monkfish, Jun 28 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Napoleon's Russian Campaign (1861) http://itech1.coe.u...ization/minard.html
Events in both time and space: see also, Charles Joseph Minard's classic example for integrating multiple variables in a single map. It shows "the size of the army, its location on a two-dimensional surface, direction of the army's movement, and temperature on various dates during the retreat from Moscow" (as narrated by Tufte.) [jutta, Jun 28 2001]

(?) the prototype http://www.futurebird.com/mapbuild3
this is very rough, I don't plan to save any data you addd... [futurebird, Jun 28 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Terraserver http://terraserver....msn.com/default.asp
Can't believe anyone doesn't know about this database of aerial photos, but here's a link just in case. [Dog Ed, Jun 28 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

GeoURL http://geourl.org/
[egnor, Oct 05 2004]


       Hm, I've thought about doing something in that area, too.   

       Maps should be made by more than one person. And maps should be structured, not just a drawing. (I have no idea whether you're planning that already.)
jutta, Jun 28 2001

       That's a good idea! I could set it up so people could draw the map using some online tools I'd provide... are there any good packages for that that work with PHP and mySQL type websites?   

       Still it's much faster to just have a big gif up there... well, I'll dream a bit before I start cutting stuff out...   

       What if the maps were limited to ariel photographs with the ability to overlay drawings? That could keep things from getting too crazy...   

       ooooh and that way the map nodes could be just like the event node. "All events are maps" infact all pictures are a kind of map-- uh oh I'm getting way too excited about this...
futurebird, Jun 28 2001

       futurebird: It seems to me that if you start with your own maps and provide a way for users to upload their personal maps, then you may get a snowball effect going and end up with all sorts of things you could never have thought of on your own. I just visited a collaborative e-painting site, and I'll try to get a link in case you haven't seen it. It allows users to paste their own images into a collective work of art--something like what you intend, isn't it?   

       MySQL I've heard of, but what's PHP?
Dog Ed, Jun 28 2001

       Dog Ed: PHP = Perl for the web   

       Well, I've got a way to do the zooming, each map simply needs a set of cooridintes that fit into the larger map... or maybe there could be a main map where all maps are stored?   

       At any rate, the major trouble is the maps that arn't made to scale (or are made to a subjective scale...) I'd like to include early maps where the scale is messed up, and maps made by little kids where the scale is whacked --but I don't know how to distribute events over a map that is "incorrect"   

       Maybe just have a globe and all maps are realted to it? But even if I do that there is no way to make locations that are on maps with normal and abnormal scales match up? (make any sense?) Unless people map every location a a location on a big map, but that seems like it's take too much time and be annoying.
futurebird, Jun 28 2001

       Oh, Perl, thanks. So all events are stored in a relational MySQL database, along with map coordinates? Seems like it's up to the users to fit their events into the coordinate system. Suppose you have a master map the user can scale to roughly match their own map, and the two are displayed side by side. Then let the user establish reference points on both the master map and their own map (a lot like the setup for morphing images), and store both sets of points in seperate tables--the master table contains a consistently-scaled set of all event points, and the individual's own mapfile contains a subjectively scaled set of only their event points. When a map with an accurate scale is displayed, event points from the main data table are used, but when an individual's idiosyncratic map is displayed then the subjectively scaled points are used.   

       (I have no idea whether this is of any use to you. But it's a great idea you've got going.)
Dog Ed, Jun 28 2001

       I like this idea. Would the maps have to be consistent and related to the real world? Or could I upload a metaphorical map, or a map of the fantasy world I inhabit, or things like that?   

       (Dog Ed, to clarify: PHP isn't perl, but it's a language widely used for web programming which is popular in many of the same ways perl is.)
wiml, Jun 28 2001

       You don't. You need one if you want to show where things happened.
Monkfish, Jun 28 2001

       futurebird: check out star tree software from inxight. it is set up to represent a sphere of information that can be navigated, perfect for a world map that can be clicked on. see link for more details.
mihali, Jun 28 2001

       Maybe the whole notion of a map is misguided. An atlas could be just a book of tiny type with detailed descriptions of places in relation to one another. And just one could be printed, and that copy could be thrown into a bog.
Monkfish, Jun 28 2001

       waugsqueke: As usual you make an excellent point. I'm reminded, however, of a famous graphic invented by someone French which shows Napolean's Russian campaign--the background is a map of western Russia, and Napolean's route is drawn using a line width proportional to the size of his army when it was at that point. The ambient temperatures on the retreat are shown along the bottom of the map. Famous bit of work, and it really shows the time-space catastrophe of the campaign.
Dog Ed, Jun 28 2001

       Dog Ed: You morphing idea might just work. I wonder how hard it would be to write a java thingy that would let the users postion their map over the section of the master map they want... hmmm   

       I don't understnd why people don't see the point of the map. Events don't just hapen in time they hapen in space too... and I want to see both at once.   

       Oh and on the fantasy map idea-- I think that could be included-- as I said it has many uses.
futurebird, Jun 29 2001

       If you like try the protoype Iinked ...
futurebird, Jul 07 2001

       futurebird: Very cool. The clickable nodes will call up images, sound files, and/or text?
Dog Ed, Jul 07 2001

       Just images and text for now, I don't have much server space ... I could change it so that people could link that kind of stuff remotely though... I'm still working on design... oh and a dozen other things. I'll let you guys know when I get something cool going on (like user groups, shared maps and an HTML snipit so people can put a map on their web page)
futurebird, Jul 07 2001

       Something just clicked in my neuron--this project must have a limit on scale because you don't have the resources of Microsoft's Terraserver (and even Terraserver only covers a fraction of the globe). So your reference map, if you are to have one, must either be fairly coarse-grained or else you must import maps from another site on the fly using your script. An alternative is to have each user's mapset be unique and unconnected to any other, but that abandons a really nifty dimension. Or you could cover only a fraction of the world--NYC, say. Or your main 'map' could simply be a coordinate system against which all the custom maps are keyed...but then you need a simple graphical way for the users to reconcile their custom map nodes with the master coordinate system.   

       Maybe you've got this resolved and so it needs no discussion? Or not? Or (most likely) my rambling in this anno is simply confusing?
Dog Ed, Jul 07 2001

       No, it was rather helpful.. I've been dreading the step of making maps linkable, but the idea of having a phantom globe then putting the maps on it sounds not beyond me... Now I need to go and learn about latitude and longitude again ... it'd be nice if the model was really spherical and not just some stupid projection (though all of this must wait until my server company installs the gd lib for php so I can write some truly fiendish image editing script he he he)   

       There is one small change I'm going to make very soon. I want it to be possible to add urls to a location... don't know why I didn't think of this before ...   

       Maybe starting with man hattan would be more fun though ... there'd be more overlap and more information that useful to me. (selfish!?) :)
futurebird, Jul 07 2001

       Maps of what? Anything? Could I post a map of our backyard, or my 10th-grade English class, or my accountant's prostate? A lot of things that aren't geographically big have good stories attached to them. You wouldn't believe what's happened around our bedroom ceiling fan, for example.
Ander, May 08 2003


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