I’ve been working on a MacFamilyTree screencast this evening. It’s related to geocoding which is related to the “virtual globe” feature. As is usual for me when I explore features, I asked myself, “What value does this offer genealogists?” I’m having a hard time coming up with something nice to say about this one.
Yes, I get that you can see points on a globe for events in your database. And, that lines indicating the direction of movement connect the points. So, what? How can this help you with the fundamental activities a genealogist undertakes? Does it help you plan or carry out research? No. Can it help you identify or locate sources? No. Can you turn evidence into sound conclusions with it? No. Does it make preserving information more efficient or effective? No. I can’t imagine a single way that this “feature” improves, in a material way, what you can do already.
Significant time was invested in developing the virtual globe feature and continues to be invested in maintaining it, so it apparently has value to someone. It’s just not us genealogists. I think the value is to the maker; it’s eye-candy that may increase sales. Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate capitalism and good marketing. I also appreciate elegant design (which is why I use a Mac) and productivity (which is also why I use a Mac). I’ve gotta say, the virtual globe is useless bloat. You would have been better served by having something useful (and basic to all the major genealogy software) added, for example, the ability to produce a family group sheet.
Am I missing something? Please tell me if you’re using the virtual globe to do some valuable genealogy work that can’t be done just as well (or better) another way. I’d love to read your thoughts on it.