Now that I’ve unlocked the lock that was keeping me out of Windows, I used it as an opportunity to do a backup. Isn’t it sad that it takes a moment like that to job the memory?
Anyway, as I “watched” the files fly by, I was reminded that I seldom throw anything away. There were so many presentations from the past that made their way to the external drive and I thought of one that my old partner and I, Grover, had given in so many places.
PCGlobe Across the Curriculum
The presentation, of course, was based upon the application PCGlobe. It had a Macintosh version, MacGlobe, and a subsequent update was called PCGlobe Maps and Facts.
A couple of the instant recollections was that PCGlobe was one of the first applications that came on multiple diskettes. Diskettes? Maybe that’s another topic…
PCGlobe was my first digital atlas. At the time, it was a fantastic collection of images and data about the world’s countries.
The first version used to run on the Icon computer with the PC emulator, although the 4 colour CGA emulation really made reading a bit challenging. And, small countries were difficult to hit with the trackball.
By Carobeppe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15439241
Point and Shoot was such a popular feature. It was a great trivia game when you’d identify a country and students had to locate it on the map. Hello, Switzerland, Monaco, … It could keep students busy for hours with the appropriately chosen country. The database section was a great place to harvest data for Computer Science students to solve problems with real world data. There were so many things that you could do in addition to the obvious Social Studies applications. Many were mathematics based and there were no apologies given. Every teacher is always looking for interesting things to do to interest students in mathematics.
As I think now, many of the activities that we demonstrated are now standard fare in Google Maps or your car or phone’s GPS. The one drawback, of course, for an application that you just install and use is that it’s never (or at least seldomly) updated and so political changes or changes in country data can quickly go out of date. Even today, Google takes a conservative approach to drawing some country borders.
As for PCGlobe, it was a very popular application in the early 1990s and there were many a teacher who used it as the first curriculum application in their classroom. It just had such that appeal.
How about you? Does this jog some memories?
- Were you ever a user of PCGlobe/MacGlobe either as a teacher or a student?
- What’s your current favourite mapping application now that so much is available online? Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, OpenStreetMap, Something else?
- Do you ever rely on a GPS when driving, walking? When was the last time you updated your GPS maps?
- If you had to find a collection of data about countries of the world, where would you turn?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.