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World Cartography
- 8th Nov 2011 -

One of the interesting things about Second Life (for me at least) is how it is not just a group of "3D rooms" linked together where avatars come to meet. Things that exist in Second Life take up space and have a geography, and hence, can be mapped.

the most obvious way of doing this is using the Map while in a viewer. This is good but has some limitations. The map and legend take up a lot of screen space (some viewers like Firestorm allow you to hide the legend). But not only that, downloading the map images takes time and adds to lag.

The other alternative in the viewer is to use the mini-map. This is handy and when I was a n00b I used it a lot, but it too has limitations. It's impossible to tell just how high or low each building (or avatar) is - are they very close, or 1000s of metres above you? Of course each has different functions. Bored and want to explore, use the map to zoom in and out to see what's out there, and what's next to it. Can be a lot of fun to fly, walk, run or drive from A to B. Enjoy the scenery. The mini-map on the other hand is better for short range scouting.

There is one more alternative as well, and that's SLurlSLurl is to Second Life what Google Maps is to the Earth. An example of it is shown above between screenshots. You can move around the maps and zoom in and out, and build a SLURL which can then be dropped into a web page for ease of access. You don't get to view dynamic content on the map, like avatar and event location, but the builder allows you to add an image and a title to that location. Helpful to anyone using it.

Second Life also has Second Life Maps. This features a Destination Guide Picks feature if you're up for suggestions on where to go. And extra on this is that you can search for places and events, and the results will show in that list. Type in "Dance" for events, and you'll find plenty of upcoming venues! You could just use the search function in SL, but you can do this without logging on first. Lastly there are historical maps you can view that show the development of the main grid. SLMaps has a number of links to these. Not all are working though.

Locations shown: DePaul Classrooms (top), and Fab North and surrounding sims (bottom)

Also see: Technopaideia: Firefox and SLURLs and Troubleshooting

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