MAPS.ME: A very handy offline map for travelers

If you’re one of those rare souls who aren’t connected all the time but have yearned for a good electronic atlas, MAPS.ME may be the next best thing.

Maps.ME gives wonderful detail and has a useful search function.

MAPS.ME gives wonderful detail and has a useful search function. (Sorry for the dark image — used another new app, Mobizen, for capturing the screen image but haven’t quite mastered the details.)

I’m one of the few who have yet to adopt a smartphone, but I do rely on my Nexus 10 tablet for a few things during travel.  The offline atlas that I’ve wished for may be here in its closest form with this Android app.

MAPS.ME is available for free in the Google Play store.  I also found it in Amazon’s Andoid App Store, but not the iTunes Store.

I’ve always been a hard-copy map guy.  The size and detail of an atlas or a laminated foldup map appeal to me far more than the miniature, highly focused capsules of the world given to us in a standard GPS screen, and I’ve seen too many folks who are slaves to their GPS while being completely unaware of their surroundings. Continue reading

Closing of Aboriginal communities drawing worldwide attention

closure

Click here to go to the Facebook page “Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities in Australia”

As we prepare for our winterim trip to Sydney, we’ll examine more news like this.  A story this morning in USA Today on the potential closure of up to 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia is part of a steady worldwide stream of  articles and stories about this issue.

The official government stance is that this is an issue of expense, but Aboriginal rights groups, independent and liberal media, and others are suggesting could be related to international interest in uranium and other mining.  Critics, such as Natalie Cromb in this Independent Australia piece, call the government “puppets for multinational corporations.”

There is, of course, an activist Facebook page related to this issue, and I’ll be following it as part of my effort to keep updated on this issue (along with more mainstream media).

Clearly, this is a complex issue, and I’ve just begun to search out information myself.  Given that our course, COMM 373, is entitled “Communication and Social Change,” issues such as this will clearly be worth following over the next few months.

Here are a few links to international media stories about the potential closures:

I was hoping to find something from China Daily, but the best I could get was a paywalled version of the Agence Presse-France report linked above.

Watch my blog for more Australian news and updates on this story.

Thanks to Professor Mark Tolstedt, coordinator of the Australia winterim program, for sending the link today to the USA Today story.