Thursday, June 21, 2007


VoiceThread is a Web 2.0ish service that allows you, and others, to tag photos with commentary, either by typing or by speaking into a microphone. I frankly can't figure out the practical application of VoiceThread, and the provided examples seem pretty silly. But perhaps some of you have an idea?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What do Teachers Make?

YouTube has a lot of valuable history content,  plus you can also easily upload your own. Every YouTube page has an "Embed HTML" option. Let me demonstrate with this clip from standup teacher Taylor Mali:

Useful Map Site on Ice Age Floods

This interactive map appears on the NOVA site, "Mystery of the Megaflood," about the Ice Age Floods. See the interactive map here. Also see the NOVA home page for the megaflood project (which resulted in a documentary television program).

What I like about the interactive map is the ease of movement from the map itself to various locations on the map with thoughtful narrative and contemporary photograph. What else could one add? (1) GPS coordinated for the photographs. (2) film clips.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Northwest History: Mission Statement

Northwest History is a blog about history and new media, the Pacific Northwest, public history, teaching history (at both the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels), and related topics that catch my fancy.

Northwest History is not about current politics, is not an online diary, and will never feature pictures of my cats. Before I made the decision to begin blogging I looked through a lot of lists of history blogs and I found that many of most had either become inactive or had lost their focus as history blogs. Those that had lost their focus either 1) had shifted into politics ("How my Scholarship on Medieval Manuscripts Shows that the Iraq War is a Mistake, Part 9")--which is fine, but the politics quickly supplant the history, or 2) became personal journals ("Today I graded essays and here are some pictures of my toddler in his kiddie pool"). Neither type of blog is of much interest to me. This is a blog about history.

Now if a political candidate makes a claim based on Northwest history, I might fact check it here. And if I go on an historical excursion (and I often do) I will likely post something about it here.

Would you like to guest blog at Northwest History? I would love to make this more of a group blog with other contributors who have an interest in the topics of this blog. Drop me a line at larrycebula at gmail dot com.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Three, no, Four More Geotagging Options

Everytrail - The GPS Travel Community is a website that allows users to upload routes and pictures of their outdoor adventures. As (and if!) it grows you would be able to check out a given hiking trail to get some idea of the views to be seen before you go. A nice feature is that you can view the maps on a USGS topo. Check out this page of a hike in Grand Gulch, Utah for an example of what the site can do.

Panoramio is another photo mapping service, but it is one to watch because it has been acquired by Google. There is now a Panoramio layer in Google Earth where you can view all the photos on this service. I created an account but have only unploaded one photo.

Finally, Flickr Maps is probably the largest collection of geotagged photos. The map interface is crude compared to the above sites, but Flickr's strength isedit the wealth of content with tens of thousands of tagged photos from the sites huge user base.

Edit: D'uoh! I forgot Google Maps "My Maps" option. If you have a Google account and are signed in, going to the Google Maps page will reveal a "My Maps" tab. Click on that and you can create your own maps with embedded pictures, audio, video, text and links. See for example this Route 66 map (choose the "My Maps" tab for the link) with oral interviews of old timers living along the Mother Road. This has enormous potential for historic trails like the Mullan Road.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Robogeo and Geo-Tagging Photos

I am intrigued by GPS enabled cameras. There are only a few in production and they are fairly expensive as yet, but they offer the promise of making it quick and simple to place photos on a map. The camera records your GPS coordinates as you shoot, then automated software uploads your photos to a map with their exact locations.

Robogeo is a software solution that provides a bridge between your camera and GPS device. You sync the clocks on your camera and GPS. When you get home Robogeo compares the time stamp on the pictures with the GPS data from your trip and automatically geotags the photos. It will even upload them to Google Earth or Google Maps (examples here and here).

I am going to buy Robogeo tonight and begin experimenting.