The FINANCIAL — A California paleontologist has created an interactive tool that allows people to see how far their hometowns have moved over 750 million years of continental drift. The online map, designed by Ian Webster, features a range of tools that also make it easy to discover more about the Earth, such as where the first reptiles lived or when the first flower bloomed. Webster created the interactive map as a way of helping people learn more about the world. He built the map as a web application that sits on top of PALEOMAP map, which visualizes geological models.
Ian Webster said that the project shows that our environment is dynamic and can change. He said that the history of Earth is longer than we can conceive, and the current arrangement of plate tectonics and continents is an accident of time and it will be very different in the future, and Earth may outlast us all. Ian’s software ‘geocodes’ the user’s location and then uses Scotese’s models to run their location backwards in time. Ian also said that he built the interactive globe visualization and the geocoding and GPlates integration himself so that people could plug in their own locations. It also contains fun surprises, for example how the Appalachains used to be very tall mountains comparable to the Himalayas and that Florida was submerged, – he added.
Webster built the map as a web application that sits on top of another map (PALEOMAP maps) which visualizes geological models created by geologist and paleogeographer Christopher Scotese. The goal of the PALEOMAP Project is to illustrate the plate tectonic development of the ocean basins and continents, as well as the changing distribution of land and sea during the past 1100 million years. Scotese’s models describe development since 750 million years ago, not long after green algae first evolved in the Earth’s oceans. Webster’s map visualization lets users enter their location and then plugs that location into plate tectonic models. The result is that users can see where towns and cities were located hundreds of millions of years ago. For example, you can see where New York City was located on the Pangea supercontinent, according to CNN.
Webster created the interactive tool as a way of helping people learn more about the world they live on. When loading the map you can change the year and select your home town and have it show as a pin in the map. You can zoom in on different parts of the planet to see unusual features long lost to the movement of tectonic plates and geological history. As you search the web app for a location it spins then puts a pin in the area of the Earth your town would have been. There is also a menu that lets you jump to key moments in the evolution of life on Earth – for example you can see that the first insects evolved 400 million years ago in a world of fractured continents and smaller islands. Each ‘time stamp’ also includes an explanation of the most important developments during that period. If you jump to 600 million years ago – with a world primarily made of a single continent – life was evolving in the sea and the first multicellular life was emerging, Daily Mail reported.
Webster’s website, as mentioned, makes use of GPlates, a software program utilized by geologists to visualize plate tectonic reconstructions and related knowledge via geological time. ”When looking out a location on the map, the web site’s 3D rotatable globe will level out the place on Earth that space was situated millions of years in the past. The map will even present customers what dinosaurs used to stay close by within the space they search. The map illustrates advanced and attention-grabbing scientific knowledge in an interactive and easy-to-use method so lecturers, professors, and anybody else within the historical past and science of Earth can study, Webster mentioned. ”It’s meant to spark fascination and hopefully respect for the scientists that work every single day to higher perceive our world and its previous,” he mentioned, – Fintech Zoom stated.
Google also created a very interesting app. They have recreated ancient creatures with the help from Augmented Reality that can be viewed freely in your room on your smartphone. Google Arts & Culture is a non-profit initiative. They work with cultural institutions and artists around the world. Their mission is to preserve and bring the world’s art and culture online so it’s accessible to anyone, anywhere. The new additions to the app are divided into four subsections: animals, space, history, and art. The app is available on both iPhones and Android phones. Read more.