I was interested to notice today in “the paper” that NGS has developed a Metalens app for Windsor Colorado that enables users to tour the recently damaged town in Norther Colorado. From National Geo… National Geographic Maps provides these applications as a tool to visualize the effects of this tragic event and the powerful forces of nature. It is hoped that this will help viewers to experience the community restoration in progress without having to add traffic to the community. An interesting idea, particularly if people in the local area are receptive to view such an application rather than head out and drive around the affected area and add to the congestion. In a small meet-up with the Windsor Mayor and city officials this morning I noted that the Mayor was particularly concerned (and ticked off) with the number of looky-loos in the tornado damaged area of town. Indeed he was not only upset by the congestion but with the lack of sensitivity people from outlying areas had for those who had been directly affected.
I have to admit that I was touring the outlying area myself a couple of days ago and likely adding to the traffic problem, although I made a point of staying clear of the neighborhoods that were directly affected because indeed, traffic was becoming a problem (I stayed in the industrial area). I was also thinking while in the region that I would have liked to have conducted a small photo mapping experiment myself using my Nokia N95 8GB and the Nokia Research Labs application, Sports Tracker – very suitable for such an application. Indeed such an application could be used by onlookers to have a glimpse while also staying out of the way of emergency responders. While the MetaLens does indeed show how geotagged photos can be used in such a case, I’m still a big advocate that any small town, a consultant, or ?? with a small budget can quickly and easily photomap a small area and publish results on the web (with a map interface) perhaps providing another option for the curious. See the National Geographic Windsor Metalens at http://www.metalens.org/ngmapspro/products/
View the Windsor MetaLens using Google Maps here