Friday, March 23, 2007

Mapping Biblical Sites - Update

As I noted in my previous post, I've been interested in the ways GoogleEarth can be used to link with biblical sites. Over at (specifically, go to: HERE), a GoogleEarth file linked to every location in the Bible has been created. It is really a great resource. If you don't want to download/install GoogleEarth (but why wouldn't you?), there are also preview links grouped by biblical books to GoogleMaps online. The only thing that needs more work is that all the Jerusalem sites are given a single coordinate. The Google Maps are of high enough resolution that those locations could be split up. Each location is also linked to its biblical reference, and that reference is a clickable link to the ESV Bible site. So, you have the option of searching either by biblical book or by specific place or by clicking around on the map.

I also want to highlight another GoogleEarth mashup provided by HERE at the GoogleEarth Community board. It provides a similar collection of links to biblical sites, but instead of linking to the biblical references, brief descriptions are provided.

I've also been playing around with GoogleEarth overlays. If you go HERE, you will find some overlays of ancient trade routes I've created.

I encourage you to grab all these links!

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

BibleWorks7 and Logos3

I had the opportunity to review both BibleWorks7 and the latest Logos3 Silver (which I upgraded to Gold). (Review is forthcoming in Teaching Theology and Religion from the Wabash Center.) I am finding that I am using both programs regularly but for different purposes. I have fairly decent computer hardware, but Logos is 'palpably' slower than BW7 for doing textual work. Logos is not 'bad' at all, but you know how it is with computers: 10 seconds can feel like a long time. So, when I'm doing fairly straightforward research on the biblical (or related) texts, I use BW7. When I need to do broader research (commentaries, textbooks, etc.), I use Logos.
I suspect, however, that most people (and especially the seminary students I teach), are not going to want to or be able to shell out the money for both programs. So which to recommend? I have accumulated a number of links/reviews, and I have composed a rather lengthy document providing guidance for my students HERE.
I would be interested in hearing what others who have experimented with both programs would recommend.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

BibleWorks Modules

BibleWorks7 allows for all sorts of user customization and the addition of user-created modules. Three new modules have recently been made available. They are all extremely useful and worth downloading. They are linked to the NT texts and show up in the "Resource Summary" window, so they are only one click away from the text itself.

Getting Started...

I do a lot of work with Bible software and resources on the Internet, and I have enough people asking me for advice, that I decided that perhaps a blog might be a way to share the stuff I'm discovering.

To catch up quickly, I will first point to a general collection of semi-organized links I have created HERE
More specific to Bible software, check out the resources I have created as well as links to other resources and reviews HERE. You will see that I have been spending a lot of time trying to become proficient with BibleWorks7 and Logos3. You will also note that I am a teacher trying to make things easier for my students to use these programs.