Gigapan: Pictures you can really get into

Gigapan fragment, DC Union Station

Gigapan fragment, DC Union Station

Gigapan isn’t brand new, but it’s a fascinating visual tool that allows people to deeply explore panoramic photographs — and to collaboratively tell stories through pictures.

It’s part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Global Connection Project

What’s so cool about Gigapan?

  • Conveys a strong sense of place — almost a 3D feel
  • People can create their own experience with snapshots
  • Provide text or link context
  • Allows examination and discussion of details
  • Plays nice with Google Earth

I like Gigapan because it offers an experience sort of like this:

More about Gigapan…

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Boulder Naked Pumpkin Runners = Sex Offenders? COME ON!

Scene of Boulder’s 2008 Naked Pumpkin Run busts, plus two nearby real (violent) crimes earlier that same day.

UPDATE NOV 4. The names of the 12 busted streakers have been published, so I’m following up on this case via local courts

On Halloween, as I wrote earlier, I went down to Boulder, CO’s Pearl St. pedestrian mall to check out the costumes — which are always spectacular — and to see the annual Naked Pumpkin Run. (Note: that link above goes to my blog post which includes a video containing nudity.) This loosely organized event has a lot of local fans.

The Naked Pumpkin Run is nothing more than that — sometime around 9-10 pm on Halloween, a bunch of people get naked, put jack-o-lanterns on their heads, and run en masse down the Pearl St. Mall. It’s not sexual, violent, dangerous, or threatening. It’s just silly. It’s unique. It’s fun. It’s exuberant. It’s positive and life-affirming.

And: It’s illegal.

Unlike in previous years, the Boulder police were out in force for this event, where they ticketed several runners for indecent exposure. Consequently, several fun-loving local folks may end up suffering life-altering public stigma as registered sex offenders.

No kidding.

The Colorado Daily posted this video of the event, including some footage of the busts:

Need some irony? All this happened less than 24 hours after two remarkably violent assaults, which occurred just a half-mile from the scene of the Naked Pumpkin Run busts.

Here are the details, as best as I’ve been able to gather them so far… Continue reading

Some REALLY cool news maps

National Geographic
Not surprisingly, National Geographic does an amazing job of using Google Earth to tell compelling stories and get more mileage out of its articles, photos, and other content.

Yesterday I went on a major learning/exploration binge online. I love days like that, when the information and connections all seem to be flowing. Anyway, thanks to my community here on Contentious, as well as E-Media Tidbits, Twitter, and the members-only discussion list of the Society of Environmental Journalists, I learned a ton about the journalistic and news uses of interactive maps.

This was all prep for an interview that will happen shortly. Adena Shutzberg will be interviewing me for the Directions on the News podcast. So in prep for that interview, here are several links to cool news maps that were recommended to me, and notes about why they’re cool…

Malaria Map. Adena told me she plans to discuss the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) mentioned in this Feb 25 Reuters story. The MAP map (love that!) is a Google Earth kmz file. Here’s an animation of what it looks like.

Of all the maps with news or journalistic value that were recommended to me yesterday, these made the greatest impression…

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What are your favorite interactive news maps?

ePodunk.com
Even a very simple interactive map can tell a powerful news story.

Tomorrow I’m being interviewed by Adena Schutzberg for the Directions on the News podcast, which I’ve mentioned before on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits. We’ll discuss some of our favorite news maps and why they’re cool, engaging, and useful.

I need your help: What are some of your favorite recent online news maps? These could be produced by news orgs, or simply offer news value. Also, which online news maps have you created that you’re particularly proud of? Please comment below with your examples and links. I’m sure that collectively Contentious readers have seen many more cool news maps than I have.

I tend to be more intrigued by simple maps using simple tools that offer real insight or value — maps that almost anyone could put together with a few basic tools and skills. Here are a few examples I’m considering discussing…

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