Got back from a great week in Seattle, and been playing catchup all week. Did not even make time to Twitter on my new account (per Jeff Jarvis, trying to learn more about the feedback side of the web).
When I was in Seattle met with a gentleman from the Oregon/California Trail Association (OCTA). The non-profit that orchestrates quite a bit of activity/awareness on behalf of the National Trail System's (our tax dollars actually at work) Oregon National Historic Trail. Believe it or not, the actual location of the trail is not entirely documented/marked. Part of the OCTA's mission is to help the National Park people mark the trail. This gentleman was in charge of the volunteer effort.
We had a good chat. I had just joined the local chapter and volunteered to show him the possibilities of using Google Earth to locate and document the trail - as opposed to buying GIS type software. I made an impression and we agreed to try pilot on our own. He supplied me with some sample data (existing trail markers), I agreed to place them in Google Earth for his review. There is the possibility of showcasing the work at the annual conference in Elko, Nevada this year.
This is not the first pilot I have done of this type (Nez Perce Historic Trail). There is a saying/concept in the computer world that you actually have to do a project to figure out how you should have done it. I like to work with established, vetted content. Organize it in a Google Document (easy to maintain dow the road). Serve it to Google Earth/Google Maps via a Google Site (people can find it via the site or Google Earth Gallery), and track it via Google Analytics. Took a bit to figure out, but it works smoothly, and Google is handling all the server headache and costs. Can even hook Google's AdSense to the Google Site to try and defer some of my time/costs.
I wanted to try something different this time. At Google Sites, when you create a site, you can chose from a couple template formats. I wanted to try the Project Wiki one. It is presdesigned for doing collaborative projects - whether or not they aye are for the web. It integrates several Google collaboration tools (Google Groups, Blogspot) with quite a number of useful Google Gadgets (Lists, Tables, Posts). On a basic level you can just plug in your data and go (where I am at now). Once you get comfortable it can be customized like any Google Site.
Here is where it stands so far (truly a work in progress). Nuts of it is, I like it
Thank you Google.
Make it a good day.