A short while ago I've started reading an interesting book about early astronomical tests of the theory of relativity, Einstein's Jury by Jeffrey Crelinsten. I don't want to say more about the book right now - just that I became a bit confused with all the names of US astronomers and observatories mentioned in the text. I thought it may be helpful to put them on a map.
There are web sites and wikipedia entries about all the observatories mentioend, so I decided to play around a bit with Google Maps. There is an "application programming interface", Google Maps API, which can be used to embed customised google maps in web pages, and to add flags and comments to the map. It's actually not so diffcult to use: I registered to get my "API Key", looked at same of the examples and demos (and in the source file of this nice interactive map I had come across by chance a while ago), and after some tinkering, I ended up with this result:
A map of some historical astronomical observatories in the US, ordered from East to West:
This API is a fascinating gadget! There are probably hundred times more applications than I can think of right now.
The only thing what still is missing now is a time line ;-)