"John Spilker - Family Technology"
Cool things that you and your family can do on the Internet
Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Exploring History From Space
     This is a really fascinating story about how a retired mechanic figured out how he could find missing sections of the historic Santa Fe Trail using the Microsoft TerraServer, a satellite imaging system developed by Microsoft Research.

     Some of the wagon trail ruts are still visible from space but hard to find at ground level.

     I had the pleasure of taking with Larry Mix last year. He has devoted an incredible amount of his life to researching the trail and loves to share his research with high school and college students.

     After he discovered the Web would enable him to publish to a very broad audience, he learned HTML on his own and built a Santa Fe Trail Web site. On top of this, he doesn't even like computers.

     There's a lot of really bright people at Microsoft Research, but I doubt anyone there could have made the discovery that Larry did. And here's a great piece of advice from Larry:

     "My wife and I are planning another trip along the complete length of the trail in the very near future. I hope that we'll see you in a rut along the way. Don't forget to bring your laptop," said Mix.

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