Rrove is one of the
latest site-tagging apps making use of Google Maps API (via
& credit). I signed up for
an account this
morning and tested it with a link to the Palmer House in Chicago, site of the
’06 CCCC late next month. Rrove also has a community setting, so it might
be useful for conference hosting, collaborative markups of an area, and so on.
My first impression is that it’s a kind of geospatial del.icio.us, and although
the site still lacks a few features (such as RSS) common to the web 2.0 lineup,
I’m holding out hope that those features will roll out any day now. I have
other motives for seeing a web2.0-rich version of Rrove, not the least of which
is my GEO781 project, which, from my perspective several weeks removed from its
completion, will deal with some of the ways we might begin to recognize
cybercartography as writing. Still fuzzy (not discouragingly so), but I
think I’ll be dealing with Wayfaring,
Frappr and Rrove, developing
some of my earlier thinking on the
memorial froms
, while sorting through theoretical/pedagogical rationale for
(hyper)imagetext integration of geospatial writing. I just received my copy of
Google Maps Hacks
yesterday, too, and after leafing through it for a few minutes, I would guess
it’s going to be manageable to begin working up customized maps very soon.

On a related note, one of my colleagues in class (who studies and teaches
physical geography) raised several really interesting questions about the
discord between the textual/encyclopedic side of Wikipedia and its stalled
counterpart, WikiAtlas. It set us off into some fairly provocative
exchange about atlas authorship, and also got me thinking again about what
Manovich does with paradigmatic and syntagmatic. From my perspective, the
energy surrounding cybercartography is in the multitude of overlays more than
the landforms in the background. The excitement centers on the syntagmatic
possibilities for the map; its writability.


  1. I just tried out Wayfaring and am going to use it next week with my basic writers, who are currently writing a poem based on “Where I’m From,” by George Ella Lyons. I especially like the notes feature–this will be a place to ask them to write a paragraph about whichever place they select. Thanks for sharing the link.

  2. This sounds really good, Joanna. I’m curious how these come together for your students. I hope you won’t mind sending me a link if you have time.

  3. Glad to, Derek. Here’s a question: do you know of any programs that will create an interactive map from a static one? I’d like to use my college’s campus map as the point of departure for a writing/mapping project about what’s available on campus. I’d like to present it in a map program like Wayfaring. Let me know if you hear of anything.

  4. Thanks for the post. Appreciate you giving us a test run, and giving feedback. You’re right – we still have features to build, but it’s on it way in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we hope you keep the Rrove buttons on your browser and save your spots on the service.

    If you want anything specific, feel free to email me at davester -at- rrove -dot- com.

  5. I’m not aware of anything that will support what you’re talking about just yet, Joanna. But I wouldn’t be surprised to find tile customization made into a standard feature on one of the map annotation sites. In _Google Maps Hacks_, there’s a hack for creating custom tiles, but it involves a bit of work with the high resolution image. The best I can think of for now would involve a series of hacks–nothing as seamless as the apps you already know about. Another possibility would be to use a scanned map in Flickr. There are a number of limitations to going this route, of course, but it would be fairly manageable for students to create usernames and annotate a common image. Leaves something to be desired in terms of scalability, but you could get around that by having, say, five images–one of the total campus and four higher resolution images of specific quadrants.

    Thanks for the note, David. I plan to continue watching Rrove for upgrades, and I’ll be in touch if I run across anything for adding to a wishlist.

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