The View From 32


AUGUST 16, 2007  

Interactivity would have been better, but still...

It's always a good thing to find a website that helps us see information differently or understand it better. One called Maps of War does this with animated maps with accompanying timelines that show the History of Religion, Imperial History, U.S. Leadership and War, and more.

The two that work best are History of Religion (below) and Imperial History. Watching the blue of Christianity spread slowly at first, then faster, across Europe, followed by the green of Islam expanding over the Middle East and northern Africa gives a global perspective that's hard to come by otherwise.

See for yourself:

Other maps on the site are less informative, particularly the two-image Signs of Occupation. The site's lack of descriptive text, a problem with all of the maps, is particularly frustating here where the "before" and "after" photos aren't even labeled.

As helpful as more information would be, even more useful would be the ability to click on a map's timeline to see a particular year or era. Technically this isn't hard to do—it's puzzling to me that the designer hasn't built this in.

Almost as hard to understand is the complete lack of information about the site's creator. The "Creator's Message" says:

Each map is well-researched and based in fact, and none of the work is meant to be biased or political. No spin or opinion, just fact-based conclusions about the history of war.

Maps-of-War is created by a Flash-Designer hobbyist and professional history-buff.

We're supposed to take his (?) word on the quality of the research and lack of bias. No references are provided, a serious flaw in something that claims to be based in fact. Still, worth a look, and with improvements this could be a very informative site.

Venn diagram showing Google Earth, Risk, Peoples History of the United StatesI learned of this site via, an website/email list that picks one interesting piece of media to recommend each day.

Each day's entry is accompanyed by a Venn diagram placing it in a bigger context, like this one for Maps of War:


TOP   |       |      |   


New pictures and commentary on our recent trip on Aug. 9, the return flight from London to Cleveland. I also added to and revised Aug. 5 (Helsinki).

TOP   |       |      |