An online interactive map created by a California-based paleontologist allows people to see how their hometown moved through hundreds of millions of years of continental drift.
Ian Webster, who designed the map, said it was “meant to spark fascination and hopefully respect for the scientists that work every day to better understand our world and its past.”
Webster designed the interactive map using a web application that borrows geological models from geologist and paleographer Christopher Scotese.
The map allows users to enter any location – their hometown for instance – and then see where it was located over the last 750 million years.
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“My software ‘geocodes’ the user’s location and then uses (Scotese’s) models to run their location backward in time,” Webster told CNN. “I built the interactive globe visualization and the geocoding and GPates integration myself so that people could plug in their own locations.”
The map even shows what dinosaurs roamed nearby, as well as when the first flower bloomed.
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“(The map) also contains fun surprises, for example how the U.S. used to be split by a shallow sea, the Appalachians used to be very tall mountains comparable to the Himalayas, and that Florida used to be submerged,” Webster said.