Maps represent the world, but they can also change how you look at it. And changing the way you see the world is a great thing.
Today Cool Websites and Apps continues its fascination with maps, bringing you five more sites that can help you see the world in different ways. We’ll look at weather, history, news and even YouTube videos. I promise you: you’ll find something new.
Wind Maps: Realtime Wind, Animated
Let’s start with something completely mesmerizing, shall we? Wind Maps doesn’t sound fascinating, until you open it, and then you just can’t stop looking at it. It’s an animation of current wind movements around the country.
Seriously, just open this one. You won’t regret it from an aesthetic point of view, but it’s also fascinating to see how much variation there is across the United States at any given moment. Pay attention to how oceans and mountain ranges affect things.
While we’re talking about weather patterns: if you’re planning a trip, check out Wunderground’s road trip weather maps.
YouTube Map Explorer: Find YouTube Videos from Anywhere
We’ve shown you maps that let you watch the web happen, but the connection between the real world and the web never ceases to fascinate. For more proof, check out this map, which lets you see YouTube videos from anywhere on the planet.
Japan has some…interesting videos about prairie dogs. I’ll leave it at that. Let me know if you find anything particularly fascinating, okay?
OmnesViae: Interactive Map of Ancient Rome
2000 years ago the Roman Empire spread across Europe, Africa and even into Asia – to this day that ancient empire shapes these regions and many civilizations. It’s one thing to know that: it’s quite another to see it. OmnesViae gives you a chance to explore ancient Roman cities, overlaid on a modern map.
You’ll see roads and settlements, complete with Latin names and more details. It’s quite the way to explore history, and is particularly fascinating if you know the areas in question well.
There are many ways to find free historical maps online, but I’ve seen relatively few that are this interactive. Check it out, especially if you’re from the old empire: you might learn something about your hometown.
TodaysNewsMap: See Which Stories Are Happening Where
Reading the news can feel very abstract – things are happening, somewhere. TodaysNewsMap aims to make things just a touch more concrete, and connected to the real world, by showing you top stories on a map. Explore to see what’s happening where.
The site, which pulls in headlines mainly from The New York Times, helps you explore headlines on a map. Zoom in to any location and you’ll see stories from there.
There are some ways in which this isn’t ideal: Washington DC is heavily represented, for example, because so much US news happens there. But it’s still an interesting way to see the news differently. We’ve shown you map-based news aggregators a few years ago, sure, but it’s always worth checking out something new.
MapTab (Chrome): Beautiful Maps with Every New Tab
Can’t get enough of maps? Consider installing MapTab, which shows you a new beautiful map with every new tab. When I tried it for the first time, this extension showed me a map close to my new home:
But it has got more colorful maps than this up its sleeve.
You’ll see something new every time you open a tab, along with the current time. What else could you want?
There are other ways to revamp the new tab pages for Chrome (and MapTab reminds me of a Chrome extension called Momentum). But if you love maps, MapTab just might be your new favorite.
Maps Are Amazing
There are sites that will change how you see the world out there, and I recommend you try to find all of them. Because the more you manage to look at the world from different perspectives, the more complete your understanding of it will be.
Plus, it’s fun.
I want to know: what are the most fascinating maps you’ve ever found online? Let’s compile more in the comments below, because I will seriously never get sick of finding these.