Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Ottawa to Bar Harbor Part 1: My digital scrapbook

As we drove across the top of New York State, into Vermont, across the tip of New Hampshire and into Maine - and back again - I sat for the entire trip with the new Nikon, a small notebook and pen, and a clutch of maps in my lap. I snapped a lot (a LOT!) of pictures, and noted whatever caught my fancy as we drove along.

When preparing for this trip, I'd spent an inordinate amount of time peering at various combinations and permutations of route maps on Google Maps (and Mapquest, and the CAA site. I really do love maps.) One day, I noticed the "my maps" feature on Google Maps and thought it would be a fun way to document the trip in snippets and snapshots. As usual, the technology is cheesing me off just a bit, but I think after a couple of hours of tinkering I've got it more or less right.

I've taken the best of the notebook and the snapshots and mashed them into a a sort of digital scrapbook, courtesy of Google Maps. It didn't work out quite like I had expected, and can be seen better from some computers than from others. Regardless, it captures an aperçu of the flavour of our trip in chronological order. The blue pips are days one and two, the green ones are day three, the purple day four and the yellow days five and six. You can click on the pips along the route, or just click on the titles in the left window, to open the dialogue box.

Each pip has some combination of text and/or picture (which you won't be able to see if you can't see Flickr photos through your firewall) in the dialogue box. If you can't see the full text or pix, you can "grab" the terrain under the box and drag it around or use the arrow keys in the top right corner to move the map so you can read it better. (After spending the better part of a day wrangling it, I've got a list of suggestions as long as my arm to help the folks at Google Maps improve this little widget!)

Speaking of Flickr, I've narrowed the 500+ photos down to 75 or so favourites and added them to a Flickr set. There will be thoughtful, meandering posts over the next few days, but this should give you the flavour of our great Ottawa to Bar Harbor (and back again!) road trip.

Let me know what you think - after a week away, I'm hungry for comments! And let me know if you're having trouble with the Google Maps thingee, so maybe I can tweak it to make it more user-friendly.

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