Maps, travel, and making the world a smaller place

If you haven't already, go on over and check out Lee Lefever's The World Is Not Flat site, affectionately known as "TWINF". It's running on Bryght, and we had a hand in twiddling a few bits of the code -- specifically, Colin mucked with maps and is now an AJAX god (or so he tells us) and Richard wrestled with custom PHP snippets and blocks. The always powerful Mark Yuasa of Raincity Studios did the CSS-fu to keep the site looking daisy fresh.

Why should you care about TWINF? Well, number 1, Lee (of Common Craft fame) is a very cool guy who is going to be travelling around the world next year with his wife Sachi. It fits in the category of international travel blog, but Lee and Sachi don't just want you to be able to keep up with what they're doing...they want to hear from you. The idea is to gather people's experiences which will help them decide where to go and what to visit (and what not to visit).

What coolio Web 2.0 features did we help cook up? Well, as I mentioned, Colin did some neat map work -- a global map will display Lee and Sachi's posts around the world, and an AJAX interface shows posts from a particular city when clicked on. You can also vote on individual entries, plus there is a tag cloud interface for dispatches and countries.

In any case, congrats to everyone for getting TWINF live. I'm jealous that Lee and Sachi are going on such a fun trip, sad that we won't see them for a long time, and also wish them all the best. Special bonus tip: visit the Blog Flux Map Stats page to see where people are visiting the site from.

But wait, there's more! Why point to just one map interface when you can point to 2? Jason and Di-Ann let me know that they have a preview of their site Platial up and running, and I spent a little bit of time poking around. It's also Google Maps powered, and has a very innovative interface: maps have lots of "layers", you can create your own maps, there's tagging. All the cool kid Web 2.0 stuff. Update: feel free to swing by http://preview.palatial.com to kick the tires.

Note to Jason and Di-Ann: you need to have a public place (e.g. forums, blog posts, whatever) to gather feedback -- a mailto: link doesn't cut it anymore. Where's the Platial blog?