This is a Guest Post by Andy Darnell.
So the other day, I was in need of a good map of Israel. I’ve been working on a Bible study for some students that I’ll be using in the near future. Unfortunately, the maps that are in the back of my Study Bible didn’t show the specific terrain details that I was wanting at the time.
Most places online were wanting to sell me software that I could install, or even sell me giant wall maps of middle east terrain. That’s not what I needed. Actually, I didn’t even need an image in the first place. I was just interested in a high level feel for what the elevation is like between several of the cities that are named in the gospels. Long story. Really not important. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
Enter Google. Specifically Google Maps.
Search for “Capernaum” (No… Not Capernaum Pediatric Therapy, stupid, I’m looking for Israel)
After a couple minutes, I figured out how to change to Israel. (See, I take the long way around instead of just adding the simple comma and then the word, I manage to drag a tiny little focus box across the Atlantic to land on the middle east.)
Read more of my findings after the jump:
I am now looking at a present day map of Capernaum. There are exciting photos, even a link to the mount from Jesus’ sermon. Now to work on some directions to and from the city.
This is when I discovered that you can actually filter “By Car” or “Walking” directions. The walking directions are in beta and a disclaimer pops up telling me to “Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.” Seriously, Google is starting to map down to pedestrian paths. That is awesome.
Within a matter of minutes, I can toggle between map, satellite, and terrain view. Sorta what I wanted. Enough to answer a few of the nagging questions that I had. Now back to the Word.
Later, I started pondering the possibilities that may be soon available. We’ve all seen the street level views that Google stitches together. It’s not a large stretch to see this technology used to stitch together a virtual walking tour of Israel. How cool it be to virtually surf the streets where Jesus walked? It’d be interesting to scroll/stroll the streets that Paul’s letters would have traveled on their way to the early churches.
I personally have a life goal of taking a trip to Israel, but this would be pretty sweet in the interim.
Then I thought to myself, maybe this already exists in some form out there. If not, maybe a site could be created that would allow for folks who have been on tours to Israel a place to share and build a virtual tour for the rest of us. Do you know of something similar to this out there?
Again, I may be way behind the curve on this. I’m sure that someone will comment that the site already exists, and that if I’d just spent more time on a simple search engine search, than this post, I would have already discovered the end product.
Go ahead. Give it to me.