Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two literary pilgrimage maps - only one still standing

More than a year ago I created a map tracing John Steinbeck's journey with his poodle Charley in the fall of 1960. In time, it got more than 8000 visits and five users rated it to give it 5 stars. One day last week I looked at it and found that someone had hacked it - taken away the ratings and past comments and replacing them with a rather condescending remark about how Steinbeck made up a lot of things in that trip. I complained to Google, waited a week and concluded that Google doesn't much care. So I deleted the map. Google giveth and Google taketh away. I can't imagine how anyone could do that if they don't work for Google, but there are smart people out there who are also psychopathic.

A second map, made at about the same time traces the places in America that have a connection to Mark Twain. It's brand new so I've only got to the places he visited as a journeyman printer. You can see it take shape at

Google Earth Community allows developers to post KML files to promote geotagging projects. Each subject area has two levels. An open level that any member can post to. Then those postings are patrolled by moderators, who sometimes move them into the elite moderated area. When I posted the Charley information last Saturday, I was astonished to find that the posting had been moved up in less than half an hour. Like my ego needed more feeding.

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