[Tweeters] REQUEST - Please use links to http://maps.live.com to
Wayne C. Weber
contopus at telus.net
Sun Dec 10 13:41:49 PST 2006
Dear "Antonio VZ",
Thanks for your effort to assist others in describing, and finding,
the location of rare birds. The "Virtual Earth" site may be quite useful
for those who have the patience to learn how to use it. It even seems
to work with my antiquated Windows 98 operating system, whereas
some other mapping programs, like "Google Earth", will not work
with Windows 98.
I notice that you did not sign your name or city at the end of your message,
so I have no idea who you are or where you are posting from. Please do
so in future-- this is a requirement for all "Tweeters" messages.
Personally, I rarely have difficulty in finding the location of rare birds,
providing that the person who initially gave directions took
a bit of trouble to describe it accurately. Many things, such as signs and
some landmarks, cannot be seen on a mapping program map.
If my initial directions for the King Eider were not precise enough
for you, please note that I had not seen the bird myself at that point,
and was repeating directions given by the finder of the bird. Had I
been to the location myself, I would have given more precise directions.
As it was, I had no trouble driving directly to the location of the bird
from the directions that were given. However, I am familiar with the
locality, which probably made a difference.
The "Virtual Earth" site seems to have one major disadvantage-- you
cannot print a map or driving directions directly from the website, but
you have to sign in, save it, go to a different website, and then
print. I found this too much trouble to do, so I gave up on
trying to print a map of the Emperor Goose location.
Although "Virtual Earth" may be very useful for some of us, I suspect
that most birders on Tweeters will not be using it anytime soon.
The important thing, for all of us, is for someone describing a rare
bird location to do so as accurately as possible, whether they are
using Virtual Earth, a verbal description, or some other method.
As operator of the Vancouver Rare Bird Alert, I am keenly aware of
the need for accurate directions, and am frustrated by the vague
directions often given by observers when reporting a rare bird.
Please note that Virtual Earth is useless for those (e.g. most visiting
birders) who do not have computer access, and who must access an
RBA by telephone. There will always be a need for good verbal directions,
and for basic skills in reading a map (which some people seem to lack!).
Wayne C. Weber
contopus at telus.net
----- Original Message -----
From: "Antonio VZ" <wildlifer425 at hotmail.com>
To: <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2006 1:01 AM
Subject: [Tweeters] REQUEST - Please use links to http://maps.live.com to
I just spent about 10 minutes trying to parse out the exact location of the
king eider reported near Blaine and didnt have much sucess, While doing so
it occurred to me that there is a MUCH better method of conveying location
Check out http://maps.live.com It's Microsoft's online "Virtual Earth".
To show how it can be used for sharing locations of sightings here is an
example I put together for the Emperor Goose near Snohomish:
Instructions on how to do this:
1. Open http://maps.live.com/ in your browser
2. Navigate to the location of the sighting
3. Click the right mouse button on the precise spot - a menu will appear,
click the Add Pushpin link in this menu
4. You should now have a form that allows you to add a title, description,
image, etc for the pushpin. Enter the information and click the Save
Your pushpin is now complete but there is one more step you need to complete
to be able to share it. As you do your work the URL doesnt change on this
website like it does on most others (for very good technical reasons).
Therefore the URL in your browser doesnt contain all the necessary
information to recreate what you are seeing. To create a link that you can
send out to Tweeters (or anywhere else for that matter) you need to do the
1. Go to the Share Menu at the top of the map and click the Copy Link To
2. Go to your email editor of choice and hit paste (CTRL+V) the link into
This only takes about 5 minutes, and is so much explicit and helpful to
others than a written description. People can even right click on the Pin
and click the get driving directions link. To change your view just click
on the map and drag your mouse. To zoom in or out spin your mouse wheel or
use the + and - keys on your keyboard.
There are many more useful and cool features to this program. For instance
you can also look at the maps in 3D. I only recommend this if you have
broadband and be aware that it requires you to download an ActiveX control
from Microsoft, but trust me it's worth it :
If you have any questions about this please feel free to send an email
directly and Ill be more than happy to help you out. I think it's worth the
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