Good morning everyone,
It’s Memorial Day here in the USA, a day of remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces. I happened to notice a front-page story on CNN yesterday about Map the Fallen, a Google Earth mashup that plots information about servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Created by Sean Askay, a Google engineer who has spent the last two years working on the project (substantial personal time in addition to his official Google “20% time“), Map the Fallen takes freely-available public information and organizes it in a visually powerful way. He records the soldier’s hometown, approximate location of their death, and a detail page like this:
It’s hard to comprehend the enormity of this project without experiencing it. You’ll need the very latest version of Google Earth 5.0 (his site notes that an older Mac version of Google Earth is known to crash when loading the .KMZ file but my PC running a slightly older version of Google Earth 5.0 also crashed until I got the update). Interacting with the map is easy, just point and click like you normally do. I was not able to figure out what the slider at the top of the screen is for but it appears to link the soldier’s hometown with the place of their death.