Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Concharto is a geographic wiki for documenting historical events -- think wikimapia times ten.

It also has a pretty noble goal:

When Leo Tolstoy wrote “War and Peace” in the 1860’s, he sprinkled it with whole chapters of rants against the historians of the day. His complaint was that they viewed history solely as a progression of major events precipitated by “great men”. Instead, he argued, history is a much more complicated progression of cause and effect driven by small events. In one of his more philosophical moments, he proposed applying the scientific method to history, asserting that a complete understanding of an event could be obtained by slicing that event into smaller and smaller pieces, in exactly the same way that a math student performs integral calculus.

While not actually creating a calculus of history, Concharto does attempt to slice history into smaller pieces.

But the interface is confusing and cumbersome in the extreme. It's built on top of google maps, and inherits its interface elements in all of their general-purpose bulk. No, no, no, no, no. You want something that looks like this.

As things stand, the interface imposes so much cognitive drag that the application (which should be awesome, and has plenty of functionality) isn't very fun at all. Here's hoping it improves over time.

(hat tip for the russia map)

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