Some­where down there

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - DAVID CAR­ROLL

WHEREon earth am I?

On terra firma it’s a ques­tion that can baf­fle the weary trav­eller, but aboard a plane at 30,000 feet one quick look at the track­ing map will pro­vide a pre­cise an­swer. The trusty map will also tell you how much flight time is still to be en­dured, which is why this fea­ture con­sis­tently ranks as one of the most pop­u­lar on­board en­ter­tain­ment op­tions. But the map is purely func­tional — you might con­sult it sev­eral times dur­ing a jour­ney, but you’re not go­ing to linger. Tyler Sterkel, a mu­seum cu­ra­tor and in­ter­ac­tive pro­ducer based in San Fran­cisco, thinks that’s about to change. Back in the early 2000s, Sterkel, who had ex­pe­ri­ence pro­duc­ing au­dio guides for mu­seum vis­i­tors, was in­tro­duced to Greg Dicum, au­thor of a se­ries of books de­signed to help air­line pas­sen­gers in North Amer­ica and Europe un­der­stand the land­scapes over which they were fly­ing.

The pair tried to think of ways to get Dicum’s Win­dow Seat books into in-flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems, but shelved the idea when they re­alised the costs were pro­hib­i­tive. In 2010, when US air­lines started to in­stall WiFi on air­craft, they de­cided to re­visit the con­cept and launched Mon­doWin­dow , a web­site de­signed to trans­form the mov­ing map from a handy tool to an en­ter­tain­ing guide.

Mon­doWin­dow’s con­tent is cur­rently fo­cused on North Amer­i­can re­gions and ge­o­graphic fea­tures, with geo-coded Wikipedia ar­ti­cles and Flickr pho­tos on

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