I guess I’m in a “maps” kind of mind these days.
“Here’s a fun game. Go here:
Hit “stealth”. Go somewhere at random.
Try to find an airport.”
That’s how it started. I did walk away from it for hours. Then the kids reached the point where they just couldn’t stay quiet another second, and I knew I needed to give them a few minutes away from my working so hard.
First, I was so busy just exploring the pictures. You can click the [X] to close the ads, click the right arrow on the options box, and then tap the “N” key to switch to a new random photo. I was browsing Japan for a while. It’s amazing how much a long stretch of highway in another country can look just like the long stretches of highway your parents drove on family vacations when you were a kid. And then, all of a sudden an image shows up that makes you mutter, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”
MapCrunch is powered by Google Earth. It is plain and simple a different type of search interface for getting to the same info. I loved the idea of making it a game to go find something in another country. It was fun discovering that I could navigate, clicking here and there, toodling down the street, turning right and left, wondering what I would see. Finding an airport, well, I quickly decided that was beyond me. But I could see using this in small groups.
Have two hats. Pull the name of a country from one hat, the name of something to look for from the other (convenience store, a white car, a broken fence, a farm, construction equipment, whatever you think might be interesting). Then have the teams start looking. Who finds their thing first? Who couldn’t find their thing in their country? Why do you think it was hard to find X there? What do you know about that country? Did you see anything that surprised you? How confusing was it to try to navigate in the other country?
Could be a very simple exercise for sensitizing people to some aspects of other cultures. Then the “click stealth” idea. How long does it take you to figure out what country you are in? What were the clues?
In the words of MapCrunch:
“To get started, simply click the green “GO” button to be teleported to a random place in the world.
If you only want to see certain countries, select them on the right hand panel → Click the “myMap” option (top-right of side panel) to choose your own area – this will only show images within the area that you see. For example, if you only want views from Tokyo, move and zoom the map so that you only see Tokyo city (or search for “Tokyo”), then click “GO”!”