Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Google Maps > Google Earth

Google just announced this week that Google Earth views are now available within Google Maps. Here's their own video description:

Once you get to the location you want using Google Maps, it's a simple matter of clicking on the "Earth" button to gain the advantage of the 3D imaging available. (You may be prompted to install the Google Earth plugin if you don't already have it.) If you are already familiar with Google Earth, all the navigation will be familiar to you including the shortcuts for tilting and rotating. 
What's the advantage of having this new view available? 
  • The dimensionality of Earth views can give you a better sense of a place.
  • The integration of map, satellite, and earth views allows for fast and easy switching so that one can become more familiar with a place. (Also note that terrain view is still available under the More dropdown.)
  • The earth view also includes 3D models that have been created. (In fact, I don't see how you can turn off the 3D models.) Some of these have actual photographic 'skins' wrapped around the objects. Take a look at some of these examples I made. (You can click on the link to go to Google Maps yourself.)
    Here is Athens >
  •  Here is Ephesus with models of the theater and the Library of Celsus.
  •  Using tilt and zoom, you can even stand at the threshold of the Ephesian theater and relive Acts 19:29-40!
  • Also note under the More dropdown that you have access to links to Wikipedia references, photos from Panoramio, YouTube videos taken on location, and even live webcams where available.
There are still some extra things you can do in Google Earth (e.g., have indices of biblical sites [like this or this] or create tours [

BTW, one thing that Google Earth does not yet do is provide relief maps. To get that, either use the free Bible Mapper program or use the fine maps-for-free site. Here's an example of a relief map. Can you figure out what biblical region it's depicting?
˙pǝʇɐɔol ǝɹǝʍ uoıʇɐlǝʌǝɹ ɟo sǝɥɔɹnɥɔ ㄥ ǝɥʇ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʎǝʞɹnʇ uɹǝʇsǝʍ

Saturday, April 10, 2010

iGoogle Home Page - Caesarea Aqueduct theme

I use iGoogle as one of my home pages. It's possible to customize the banner theme, and a long time ago, I stitched together a panoramic view of the aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima. I allowed it to be shared, and I see that it finally has become available. So, if you too want a Google home page that look likes this, just choose the "Change theme" option and search for Caesarea.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

BIBLIndex: Online Biblical Index for the Church Fathers

Biblindex should be your first stop for locating biblical quotations and allusions in the writings of the Church Fathers. Between 1975 and 2000, 8 volumes of Biblia Patristica were published which produced about 400,000 biblical cross-references from the following works:
  • Beginnings to Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian
  • The third century (except Origen)
  • Origen
  • Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius of Salamis
  • Basil of Caesarea, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, Amphiloque of Iconium
  • Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan, Ambrosiaster
  • Didymus of Alexandria. Supplement, Philo of Alexandria.
In addition, about another 100,000 biblical references have been derived from:
  • Athanasius of Alexandria
  • John Chrysostom
  • Theodoret of Cyrus
  • Procopius of Gaza
  • Jerome
They state: "The ultimate goal of this site is to permit the identification of biblical quotations in all Jewish and Christian literature of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages."

Access to the data is free with a free registration at the site. There is an English version of the site, but its French roots are evident throughout. (I.e., some of the English is a bit awkward, and once you get down to some of the deeper levels of the site, you will want to know some French or use a page translator.)

The search form allows you to select a biblical verse or passage. You then choose to search among author/work (or select all), provenance of the work, date of the work, or series. 

The results indicate provenance, author, work, and provide bibliographic information. As an example here is one of the references returned for Mark 16.8.

There are not direct links to the works, but in this particular case, I did a quick search on the Cramer title from 1840, found it at the Internet Archive, and, as the search result indicated, I went to page 446 and looked at line 25 and indeed found the reference to Mark 16.8. Clicking on the an author cited provides a link to additional information and bibliographical help at Sources Chrétiennes.

I'm not the first to blog about this great resource, but they have been seeking additional funding and just sent out a downloadable poster or brochure (from which I snipped the graphics here) that provides a quick overview of the site.

(BTW, they note on the site that "Biblical files of Biblindex are developed with the assistance of BibleWorks 8.")

Friday, April 2, 2010

Glo Bible - Review Part 2 - Easter Gallery Sampler

I started my review of the Glo Bible  here, and this time I'd like to say a bit more about the media included. I'm prompted by the Easter Gallery they have shared online, and it will give you a good idea of the type and quality of media provided. [HT: Todd Bolen at BiblePlaces] 40 images and a video will walk you through the events of Holy Week and are accompanied by relevant Scripture texts. The images are of high resolution, and you can see how helpful some of them are, such as the depiction of 1st century CE Jerusalem.

In the program, there are "Virtual Tours" that provide interactivity so that you can click on hotspots and delve deeper into the setting. E.g., the picture of 1st century Jerusalem above is provided with the hotspots off. Here's what it's like with them turned on:
Clicking on any one of them will zoom in and offer some brief information and further hotspots. In this way, one can pretty much 'walk' up to the Temple via the southern Triple Gate into the Court of Gentiles, via the Hasmonean Gate and around to the east, through the Beautiful Gate into the Court of Women, through the Nicanor Gate into the Court of Israel, to the Court of Priests, into the Temple, and even past the curtain into the Holy of Holies. All of this is done with the ability to zoom in/out and move around in a 360 degree environment. Tours like this are very helpful for giving a sense of place... Note that one can get to this resource through any number of paths: Scripture, maps, articles, etc.
According to their description, there are 550+ such virtual tours along with 3.5 hours of HD video, 2300+ photos, and 140+ maps. They don't list how many pieces of artwork are included. As an example, a search on "crucifixion" returned 32 photos, 21 artworks, 28 virtual tours, 1 map, and 2 interactive documentaries (in addition to the 11 Scripture links, 92 articles, and 11 web article links). 
  • The photos, all of excellent resolution, include most of the Jerusalem sites one might hope to see, some generic pictures of crosses/trees, and, interestingly, a few pictures of the famous archaeological find of the heel bone of a person who had been crucified with the nail retained in the bone. (Many of the photos provided by BiblePlaces.)
  • The artwork includes images, many of which are viewable on the web, by artists like Tissot, Doré, Brueghel, and others. 
  • Some of the virtual tours are more along the lines of illustration with explanatory hotspots. [One such illustration provides a closeup of the sign above Jesus on the cross. The Latin comes from John 19.19, and the Greek is from Matthew 27.37. I can't make sense of the Hebrew at all other than it has "Jesus" in it, but it doesn't have "king."] Others are photos of actual spots with explanations. 
  • The maps are based on satellite imagery with descriptive overlays, some of which are animated. (The images are the same as the ones used in Microsoft's Bing maps, such as this one of Jerusalem.) Glo's acknowledgment page indicates the Dr. Leen Ritmeyer worked on the maps and illustrations. 
  • The interactive documentaries are indeed high quality video using a variety of experts and represent a range of historical and theological/devotional reflections.
It's very easy to take a 'snapshot' of any screen and save the image, but I am having difficulty finding information about what restrictions there are on using the photos and images and such in my own work. I'll report back when I find out...

Glo does continue to update the program, now up to version 1.6. I occasionally encounter glitches, but it is basically stable. As noted before, the program is not 'fast,' especially when dealing with transitions to visuals. It is acceptable, however, and keep in mind that I'm running the media from an external hard drive.

All in all an impressive collection of media objects that are widely cross-linked. Take a look at the Easter Gallery for an idea of the range the Glo Bible offers.