Links: Geolinguistics, Iditarod 2008 & what’s in a name?

  • Geolinguistics: Wow. The Rossetta Project is “a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to build a publicly accessible digital library of human languages.” Now they’ve put their content into KML: Check out some wonderful KML mapping of endangered languages in Africa and the Americas, and of language use in US urban centers, but I was blown away by these two layers: Ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax’s georeferenced sound recordings of disappearing languages in Oceania, Asia and the Americas, and the historical archive of John Peabody Harrington, with recordings of Native American tribes in the first half of the last century. (The latter two are Flash-based, so they’re Windows-only at the moment.) (Via TipLine)
  • Iditarod 2008: Live GPS positions of the dogsleds in this year’s Iditarod as a KML network link, augmented by stats and weather data. Lovely layer.
  • Free distribution of your 3D city data! Google’s new Cities in 3D program basically offers to bankroll the distribution of municipalities’ 3D data to citizens all over the world, in effect crowdsourcing public planning while boosting tourism and economic development.

    Everybody is thrilled, unless, of course, you happen to be the UK Ordnance Survey, in which case you continue to think it is reasonable to be paid for London’s 3D data by the transaction when these transactions run into the millions.

  • What’s in a name: This week we learned that most mainstream media still don’t know the difference between Google Maps, Street View and Google Earth. Associated Press probably started the “Google Earth banned” meme, but sites like Drudge picked it up and ran with it uncritically. I’m surprised as anyone that an army base gave permission to have a Google car drive around taking panoramic snapshots — it is not exactly accessible to the public and militaries are not models of transparency. So: Kudos to the transparency-loving officer who gave the original permission to Google, but I’d argue that reversing that “mistake” is not what I’d call a ban — something else most of the media got wrong.
  • What’s in a name II: Google Maps mashups make it into New York’s Museum of Modern Art as part of the “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition. In keeping with the theme, there’s an online exhibition where you can view them. Unfortunately, MoMA’s curators don’t know the difference between Google Maps and Google Earth either, and call them “Google Earth mashups”… Isn’t that like confusing Matisse’s still lifes with his collages? (Via Renalid)