BBC mapping tool Dimensions creates unique mashups

Ever wondered about the size of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome? Or the how long the infamous Running of the Bulls route is in Spain? The BBC has a great new mapping tool, called Dimensions, to help give visitors and interesting perspective on these unique sights, historical marvels and famous events. Dimensions drops the outline of famous cities, tourist hot-spots and historical points of interest onto a Google Maps view of any postal zip code, creating a uniquely personal context for these well-known places.

To give Dimensions a try, stop by the BBC’s new website, over at You’ll be presented with nine different topics to map, pulled from a mix of news topics and places: The War on Terror, Space, Depths, Ancient Worlds, Environmental Disasters, Festivals, The Industrial Age, World War II Battle of Britain and Cities in History. As you browse the various choices, dropping the maps onto your hometown, unique insights come to light. For instance, who knew the camp at Nevada’s Burning Man Festival was bigger than the Chicago Loop? Or that the circumference of the Moon is about as big as the entire United States?

BBC Dimensions isn’t just a fun toy. Taken in the larger context of journalism and travel, it represents an innovative way to put news stories and tourist destinations in perspective. Our experience of the world is ultimately derived from what we know. By helping us understand important places in a new way, BBC Dimensions makes the abstract something more than mere stories in a newspaper or photos in a guidebook. A new type of map to help us make sense of the world.

RoomAtlas mashes Google maps with hotel prices and reviews

I’m a sucker for a good mashup. RoomAtlas is such a service – it combines the power of Google maps with thousands of hotel locations. The map looks a bit like a Monopoly board, and shows the location of hotels, along with a color coded price, links to reviews, a thumbnail photo and a link to a booking site with even more details of the property.

Rates come from and Expedia, so you are almost always going to get the best available rates. I’ve been playing with the site for some time this morning, and absolutely love how easy it is to find a hotel where you want it, for the price you are willing to pay.

RoomAtlas current covers 53,000 hotels from all around the world. Prices can be displayed in US Dollars and UK Pounds.