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Sir Isaac Newton's life rendered as KML

Italian boffins suggest “georeferenced” lives of notable people

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Forget biographies in conventional books. Forget e-books too, while you're at it. A pair of Italian boffins have mashed up the idea of “Georeferences” and an ancient Roman form of travel guide called itineraria to create Keyhole Markup Language (KML) tours of a notable person's life.

A.C. Sparavigna and R. Marazzato, both of the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, proposed the idea on ArXiv a few weeks ago.

The pair have since published a work-in-progress life of Newtown as KML.

ACME Mapper is the pair's weapon of choice, as it uses Google Maps and creates data in a format that is easy to annotate with details of a subject's life. That annotation, the pair feel, makes for a great educational tool.

“In our opinion, the most important feature of KML is the possibility of implementing a comprehensive virtual tour, based on a movie and the use of balloons, which can be run on Google Earth,” the pair write. "We proposed these virtual tours to describe the lives of famous persons for teaching purposes.”

The Newton KML file does not offer the most elegant or comprehensive experience imaginable, but Sparavigna and Marazzato promise an updated version soon. ®

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