Friday, March 23, 2007

Mapping Biblical Sites

Most Bible software programs have some kind of mapping resource included. Logos does have some decent overview maps, but I dislike the strange colors and even stranger orientations (which way is North on this one?) on many of the maps. BibleWorks includes the NET Bible photographic maps (online here) and its own map module which is highly manipulable (on/off topography, sets of locations, borders, etc.)
With the newer Internet mapping resources, however, there are all sorts of new possibilities. For example, check out this image of Jerusalem at Google Maps. Even better than just searching online, if you haven't used Google Earth (free download at, I highly recommend it. Very good resolution, and allows for flyovers, provides tilt for perspective, etc. I'm posting this here, because I am finding it very useful to locate biblical sites. (At some places, the actual excavations of tells are visible. Check out Beit Shean, for example.)

I've created a page where you can download markers for a number of biblical sites located using kmz files. (E.g., Beith Shean, Bethsaida, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Dan, Hazor, Jericho, Megiddo) Once you have Google Earth installed, double-click on each of them, and it will bring you right to the sites.

Then, if you want to add extra functionality...
1) If you have your own digital pictures, use the free Google Picassa photo editing program. With Picassa, in addition to being fine photo editing and organizing software, you can map each of your photos, and they will then they will show up as links with previews in Google Earth.

2) Go to (It is not necessary, but if you want, you can open a free account and store up to 2Gb of pictures.) Go to the page in particular. Click on the "View Now" link, and it will link up all the pictures people have uploaded to this site that have been mapped to Google Earth. (The option can be turned off later in Google Earth.) There really are some wonderful pictures people have taken. (As always, be sure to observe copyright restrictions if you plan further use of such pictures.)
I've attached a small screen shot of ancient Dan from Google Earth showing my bookmark and panoramio pictures that have been attached to the site.

3) UPDATE 2008.01.11: Best sites for geotagging photos

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