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N.Z. Bear Just Floors Me Sometimes

Seriously, his new Middle East interactive map is breath-taking. Go and check it out frequently throughout the day.

He sent me this description of the updates:

As always, the map shows both local Lebanese, Israeli, and Palestinian bloggers, as well as the latest old media stories on the conflict.

Among many other enhancements, a key new feature is higher-quality satellite images and the ability to zoom directly to key hot spots. For example, here are some of the key news spots from this week:

  • Khiyam, where the UN observers were killed
  • Maroun al-Ras, which was taken yesterday/Sunday
  • Bint Jbeil, which is the “terror stronghold” that has been the focus of fighting today
  • A high-level zoom of Southern Lebanon showing the border & the three spots above
Bloggers / anyone can also now generate ‘permalinks’ to any view of the map. Just pan & zoom to a view you find interesting, click on the map, and a URL is displayed below the map which you can put in a blog post or other web page that will take the reader right to that view.

I am also lining up additional content sources --- the system is already receiving a news feed from Feedzilla.com that aggregates sources like the AP and Reuters, and I’ll soon be adding direct feeds from Mideast media outlets such as the Daily Star (Beirut) and YNetNews (Israel).
I've never understood how he puts this stuff together on his own.

For perspective, check out the interactive maps at the Washington Post (offers scroll-over attack sites with short, static descriptions and a moving news wire of five stories on the left), the LA Times (a b&w static map with static summary of the conflict on the right; "interactive" is probably not the word for this), and the NY Times (I can't permalink it, but it's in the right sidebar. The best of the MSM maps, it offers daily updates on the left, attack sites marked, map visible in terrain or population density, and a dynamic summary of the conflict and stats on the right).

N.Z. created a product that's so far and above the MSM versions it's not even a contest, and he did it for free, by himself, on the fly, without a support organization. Maybe the guys at the Post and the Times Two should think about purchasing some pajamas.


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