Thursday, June 10, 2021

Point Up for North

Handsfree Webmapping is an interesting experiment which allows you to pan an interactive map with finger gestures. At the moment the map only recognizes two gestures. You can point up with your finger to move north and point down if you want the map to pan south (if you want to pan east or west then you can always use your mouse).

I have to admit that I couldn't get the map to move north and south at all. I assume that this is because my finger gesturing is woefully inadequate. The GIF above suggests that it is actually possible to move the map by gesture. 

Looking under the hood of the map reveals that it uses the Handsfree.js JavaScript library for face, hand, and pose webcam tracking.

If you get tired of waving your finger around then you might want to try talking to a map instead.

Alex is a talking map which can understand a number of different spoken commands. You can ask Alex to zoom in and out on the map or to switch between aerial and topographical map layers. You can even tell Alex a location and it will center the map on that area. Alex's best feature, however, is its ability to tell Dad jokes. Ask Alex to tell you a joke and you can hear a really bad cartographically themed joke. 

(When I first used Alex back in 2019 it worked. Today, like Handsfree Webmapping, Alex ignores me completely. Alex may just be ignoring me - or Alex may have gone deaf entirely.)

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