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David Rumsey Introduces Online Gaming Technologies to Web Browser-Based GIS 02.04.2003

Adds Lewis & Clark expedition to 3D web mapping experience.

High-performance virtual reality tools on the David Rumsey Internet GIS site make it easier and more exciting to interact with history and modern online mapping technologies. A new suite of gaming and simulation techniques available at, gives Web-based GIS and map enthusiasts the unique opportunity to fly through and interact with late 1800s maps of California’s most scenic and dynamic landscapes: Yosemite Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Los Angeles. A Flash preview is available at

“Our gaming tools add a new twist to 3D Web GIS,” said David Rumsey, Cartography Associates President. “The realism and sense of playfulness typically experienced with virtual reality and simulation technology is now possible with a Web-browser based GIS.”

A 3D mosaic of Lewis and Clark’s legendary early 1800s expedition of the Western territory of the U. S. is featured along with the new 3D California data sets.

“Rumsey is pioneering new applications on the Web, particularly with the Lewis and Clark expedition,” said Alex Philp, President of GCS Research. “The Rumsey GIS site offers one of the most compelling experiences on the Web—priceless content through a variety of 2D and 3D experiences. No one else is doing this!”

Over 30 maps of the expedition area were recently added to Rumsey’s online GIS collection, including pre-voyage and journey maps, and Lewis' original 1814 map of the team’s routes. Together, the 2D GIS maps and the 3D mosaic give visitors an opportunity to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the famous journey through a rich combination of history and modern-day mapping technologies.

“Rumsey’s vision transforms concepts into tangible perceptions of the Lewis and Clark historical geography,” said Philp. “Together with Telemorphic and the other technology partners, the dream is becoming a reality.”

Rumsey and Telemorphic, Inc. ( created the browser-based interactive 3D visualization capability with support from Knightcap Productions and ID8 Media, Inc. Launching the 3D map viewer is simple. Once the full 3D map file is downloaded to the user’s desktop, they can move through the map at varying speeds and angles, stopping to inspect various points.

“People can fly through and experience history from any vantage point and any angle in space,” said Rumsey. “The Lewis and Clark mosaic allows students and teachers to visually experience maps that detail the topography and changing landscape along the expedition route, over a period of about 100 years, and compare those changes with current geospatial information.”

Previous collaborations between Rumsey and Telemorphic include the Lewis and Clark Expedition 200th Anniversary Mosaic and the David Rumsey Collection GIS Viewer, which were recognized at the 2002 ESRI International User Conference for “Most Unique Map” and “Best Internet Application,” respectively.

Rumsey’s Web site earned a Webby for Outstanding Technical Achievement, the first Internet GIS site to win this prestigious award. The site was selected as Yahoo’s Pick of the Week, Best of the Net from, Site of the Day from USA Today, and Editor’s Choice from Netscape, Lycos, AOL and other search engines, WiredNews and TechTV, and Wired and Mercator’s World magazines.

Rumsey’s physical map collection is one of the largest in the United States focusing on 18th and 19th century North and South American cartographic materials, and maps that cover the entire world. More than 8,000 historical maps from Rumsey’s physical collection of 150,000 are available for on-line viewing. Using Luna Imaging's ( Insight software, Web viewers can experience this unique collection of historic maps in a revolutionary way. Users can zoom, pan and do side-by-side comparisons of multiple maps and save groups of images to create their own collection that holds a special interest. Complete cataloging data accompanies every image, allowing for in-depth searching.

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