It is probably quite unusual to be thinking about things beyond this project when we've only just started work, but I've had a number of conversations over the last two years that highlight the potential of web mapping tools such as Google Maps in teaching in other disciplines that don't work at 'geographical' scale.
For example, biologists and nanotechnologists work at sub-mm scales - but more importantly they also have representations of cells from gene level to cell and tissue level - in other words, they work with what the GIS world calls 'Levels of Detail' and 'generalisation'. Apparently it is not yet possible in biology to automatically generalise from the detailed data upwards, but a web map that replaces the 'map' with cell-related images at the different scales would be a useful teaching tool (and is very easy to create with existing technology and web mapping tools).
Having such a 'map' would allow students to zoom in and out between the various scales and to click on various objects and identify them (linking to additional material). In other words, this could be a useful teaching tool. Animated data (what the GIS world calls time-series data) - showing the interaction between objects at a single levels - could also be included.
Perhaps something to think about as we are developing our tool kit?
I'd welcome some feedback from anyone out there who could provide more concrete, relevant details and terminology for what could be shown at the varying scales.
(With thanks to the people at the Crucible dinner at UCL last night for a very interesting conversation about scale)
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