The Live Piracy Map

Paul Raven @ 20-11-2008

The ICC’s Live Piracy Map does exactly what its name suggests – it collates reports of modern piracy (the ocean-going sort, not kids using peer-to-peer networks), and plots them out as a Google Maps layer:

screenshot from Live Piracy Map

What’s interesting to me (as someone who works in maritime history) is how some of the hotspots are comparatively new, but others are almost as old as ocean-going commerce itself – a reminder that geography remains unconquered by technological progress, at least as far as supply chains of physical goods are concerned. [story and screenshot via the indispensable BLDGBLOG]

It also suggests that Sven’s armed cruise ship story wasn’t quite as implausible as some seemed to feel…


A brief history of the Turtlcam

C Sven Johnson @ 29-10-2008

The latest instalment of Sven Johnson’s Future Imperfect is another part of the Superstruct project.

Future Imperfect - Sven Johnson

A misplaced shipment of military fire control chips, a counterfeit toy company, an opportunist dock worker and a plastic-moulding factory fallen on hard times… a strange set of ingredients, sure, but they combined to make the black-market toy sensation of the moment. Continue reading “A brief history of the Turtlcam”


Urban mapping – prepare for the cartographolution!

Paul Raven @ 11-04-2008

SkyscrapersVia the one and only Bruce Sterling, here’s a post that’s remarkably bullish about the potential of web-reality mash-ups like Google Transit to revolutionise urban life:

“… once the knee-jerk paranoia passes, the benefits begin to sink in. With live-feed transit information, Google Maps and Google Earth could eliminate the need for standing on a windy or snowy street corner for twenty minutes, waiting for a late bus. Outside it could be pouring rain, but you’d know exactly when to leave the house to catch your train.”

But it just gets better!

“At City Hall a few weeks later, the general happiness trend of your neighborhood is noticed to be on the rise. Civic officials study the area to learn why this spike in aura has been occurring, and use this people-powered live information to liven up some less brightly-colored spots on the map.”

It’s interesting to see this sort of positive spin on matters, as opposed to the usual privacy FUD. Even so, utopias rarely work out the way they’re meant to – how would this sort of urban planning affect the disenfranchised and the poor? [image by eyeliam]


Keep watching the skies!

Paul Raven @ 23-08-2007

The Greenbank radio telescopeI’m late to the party as far as announcing the arrival of the new Google Earth features that let you explore the sky as well as the ground, but I’m not going to let that stop me. Once the excitement of roaming the real stars has faded, however, you can skip on over to Galaxiki – which, as the name suggests, is a wiki-based community that is building a fictional galaxy by describing the star systems within it.[BoingBoing]

I quite like the idea of being able to create my own solar system … for one thing, I’d make sure that I avoided picking a sun that does freaky stuff to its planets with low-frequency waves. We’re all doomed! Possibly. [Image by jesiehart]