Friday, 23 July 2010

Maps and Mapping

Of the online map tools mentioned on the Medical Library's 23 Things programme, I'm most familiar with Google Maps.  I regularly print out a map and directions to bring with me when going somewhere new.

Distances from my house to the medical library:
  • GoogleMaps: 14.8 miles
  • Bing: 14.6 miles
  • - if this allows you to get directions and distances I didn't stay long enough to find them.  The moving ads in the background are very distracting!
  • Mapquest: 14.5 miles
  • Navteq: 14.41 miles - more annoying ads, but not as bad as the Streetmap ones
So I'm surprisingly not the furthest away from work here.

The image here is of some random houses, not mine, but I got it from Google Street View.  It's actually quite shocking how clear they images are, especially since I'm living in a relatively small town, but at least it's not showing live information.  Imagine how much fun burglars would have with it if it was!

I've glanced at OpenStreetMap before but not used it much.  I think the main advantage here is that walking routes and shortcuts are marked in on the map as well.  I had never heard of OpenCycleMap before but this could be very useful if I wanted to check out possible cycling routes.

Instead of using the suggested optional task, I thought I'd show you something we worked on in the Library Council (I hope you don't mind Isla!)  Scans and data from Griffith's 19th century valuation of tenements was being added to the AskAboutIreland website, so we arranged to have the Ordnance Survey maps of the time, including plot markings, digitised to accompany this information.

We then had the 19th century maps overlaid onto Google Maps, and it is now possible to slide between the old maps and the new.
You can also zoom in and out to see the area in more detail.  Don't take my word for it though, it's much more fun to play with it yourselves! (You'll need to do a search by family name or placename first though.)

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