Google Earth: An Illustrated History of the World

Robert Rosenberg recently emailed us to let us know about a very ambitious new project he’s working on, called the Illustrated History of the World. In his words:

The IHW project is the Foundation’s effort to bring together existing multi-media web content such as Google Earth, You Tube, and Wikipedia in order to create an interactive narrative of world history based upon the content of our Tables of Instances.


If things go as well as they’re hoping, the result could be a very useful resource for teachers and students to help supplement their history and geography lessons.

As of now, the project is a bit cumbersome to load on your computer, as the main KMZ file is roughly 108MB! They’re already working on ways to reduce the size of that, likely putting it into a network link so it can be loaded in smaller chunks as needed. The other advantage to using a network link is that the data can be automatically updated, rather than requiring the user to re-download it from their site.

You can learn more on their website at They’ve also started a thread in the Google Earth Community to help solicit more feedback.

Wired Big Ideas for 2011: Chatitecture – Talking Buildings

We are pleased to say that in at number 24 of Wired Magazines ‘Big Ideas for 2011’ is Chatitecture, part of the Tales of Things project. Over the past 8 months a group of us have been developing technology to allow buildings to ‘talk’, to communicate their history, their architecture and the stories of people passing through.

Its simple to do, just sign up with Tales of Things, upload a image of your building of choice (under 2mb) and add a story. Your building will then go live and your be able to add it to the architecture group. If you want you can also print out a QRCode that you can stick to the building allowing anyone to scan the code and add to the story/history of the building via the free iPhone/Android apps.

Your building will also be able to ‘Tweet’ everytime it is scanned or a new comment/story added, it will also become part of the ‘World of Things’ map – a place to view all the objects added so far to the site.

The project team are working on ways to make the objects more location aware and aware of near by objects, it could be interesting over the next few months to see how this develops.

You can start tagging anything and everything via