I played hooky on some of the ISDE5 conference proceedings, only to find a pretty green One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer sitting all by itself in a conference room, which drew me to it like a moth to a flame. It turns out that an ISDE volunteer, Ed Cherlin, had one on loan from Google to show off to people here. I was smitten.
What did I end up doing with it? Check today’s web mapping tools for compatibility with the OLPC browser, obviously. How did they fare?
Google Maps passed with flying colors. It looked just like how it looks on my Firefox:
Microsoft Virtual Earth? Not so much. It wasn’t possible to get it to show a map, though I was welcome to search as much as I wanted:
Yahoo! Maps? The new beta didn’t manage to show a map, but presumably that’s why they call it a beta:
The classic Yahoo! Maps worked without a hitch:
The upshot? Even if you can’t get Google Earth on the OLPC, you will definitely be able to visualize KML files, as you can load these up via Google Maps. Good to see, too, that Google has OLPCs to play with, test for compatibility and loan out to conferences to help evangelize these. Are there OLPCs on Microsoft’s and Yahoo!’s campuses?