Mar 28

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Telling Stories on Maps

21 steps

Penguin books is working with 6 authors to tell 6 stories in 6 weeks. The first one, The 21 Steps, is told via embedded Google Maps. Wow. What a great method of delivering stories, especially this one that follows a man around town (inspired by the classic thriller The 39 Steps).

I found this via Gawker's excellent (and still relatively new) sci-fi blog io9. The author expands on the idea of this story-telling medium and asks "But what are the possibilities for science fiction?" He or she suggests building a a large map of science fiction spots on Google maps. Great idea. If the Entropist author or io9's readers wanted to do this I would like to suggest the following tools to help them out.

Platial - Before Google Maps added MyMaps they were the original mashup-creator for the masses and still have some of the best community-building tools out there. I looked on Platial the only sci-fi maps on the site are devoted to bookstores not the contents of the books.

Geo-Parsers - Computers are getting better at extracting locations from text. This is for sci-fi books, right? It seems that computers have to be a apart of the process. Several companies show geo-parsing on their site and make the service available. At Where 2.0 2006 MetaCarta released Gutenkarte, a site that shows off geo-parsed classics and demonstrates the power of its geo-parser API. For the io9 readers you can check out The War of the Worlds book. (Radar post). Yahoo Pipes also makes a geo-parser available. Finally you can see Google's geo-parser in action in their book search (see The War of the Worlds again).

Off-World Data - There's no reason to restrict sci-fi stories to Earth. Google has released Google Moon, Google Mars, and Google Sky. Microsoft has also released the WorldWide Telescope. From the open-source side stories could be mapped on Chris Laurel's Celestia.

Fantasy Data Maps - Many sci-fi stories take place on fictional worlds. Well those worlds can be put into a map control quite easily. For coders Microsoft's versatile MapCruncher or the open-source Openlayers is handy. For a simple web-interface check out Yahoo's MapMixer.

Best of luck and let me know how it turns out!

tags: geo  | comments: 2   | Sphere It

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Comments: 2

  Ben Sinclair [03.30.08 10:07 AM]

We recently launched a "migration maps" feature on bigsight that lets our users tell their stories on a map:

It's by far our most popular feature!

  Kim Gammelgård [03.31.08 12:35 AM]

I just stumbled over the "Romanatlas" of the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung(in German):

The link may or may not work, as they apparently do not have so sofisticated direct links at the, but only obscure links like the one here, but if not, do a search for the term "Romanatlas" and you shall find :-)

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