Cornfield Meet

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GeekDad: “Gearing Up”

One of the coolest, most fun things I ever got to do as a reporter was cover the 2002 FIRST Robotics Competition.

I was the education writer at the Tribune-Chronicle in Warren, Ohio, and I spent a lot of time that spring hanging out with the kids and teachers and mentors of Harding High’s Delphi E.L.I.T.E. team. The enthusiasm they all had for this project and the competition was ridiculously infectious.

My daughter and I went with them to the Buckeye Regional in Cleveland that year -Kelsey was barely five years old, but she totally dug walking around the pit areas and seeing the robot guts and watching them in action – and later in the season, the paper’s editor asked if I’d be interested in traveling to cover the team at that year’s National Championship in Orlando.

Um…trick question?

Jim freelanced the Trib’s photo coverage, and we had a blast over the three-day event. It’s always been hard for me to capture the energy and commitment these teams and their supporters put into it, but as I mentioned over at GeekDad, there’s a documentary out on DVD now that follows four teams on their road to the Nationals, and I just may have to check it out.

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October 23, 2009 Posted by | Film, Games, geek, Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Google Maps: Dude, Where’s My Canton?

About 10 o’clock this morning, Jenn asked me to grab her a set of directions to someplace in downtown Canton. (Canton, OHIO, just to be clear.)

Clickety-click, typety-type, and Google Maps is being its usual helpful self.

Except that downtown Canton seems to be something other than, well, Canton:

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

“Colesville?” Huh. That’s weird. Maybe it’s like one of those outdated neighborhood names or something that just happens to be right where the pinpoint falls on the map, and the “Canton” label will show up as I zoom out.

Nope, still Colesville.

Nope, still "Colesville."

Odd. Let’s pull back more…

Okay, this is getting silly.

Okay, this is getting silly.

Okay, so now I’m really intrigued and wondering where this glitch came from and what the deal is, so I start fiddling about.

I do a Google Maps search for Canton Ohio and get this:

Um... no.

Um... no.

That’s actually Massillon. (And given the century-plus rivalry between the two cities, I think the juxtaposition is pretty damn funny.)

And Colesville’s not something attached to that particular ZIP code, either: Google Maps ZIP code searches for all the Canton-area codes turn up maps with the same Colesville label.

More weirdness: Search for Colesville, with no state name, and Google Maps treats you to Colesville, Ohio at the top of the list, with four other out-of-state possibilities.

I turn to MapQuest. Whew:

Hey, there it is!

Hey, there it is!

Next, I do a MapQuest search for Colesville, OH, 44701. I get this:

Click to enlarge if you want.

Click to enlarge if you want.

Hm. Maybe there IS something to this “Colesville” thing. Of course, I did tell MapQuest to look for Colesville at that ZIP code. I wonder if that generated the label. Let’s try something…

Clickety-click, typety-type:

Weve got the droids youre looking for.

We've got the droids you're looking for.

Huh. “Robot Parade, OH” it is, then. Great.

So, “44701” on MapQuest generates a peachy-keen normal Canton-labeled map, and, in fact, looking on that site for Colesville, Ohio, gets you nothing:

Will the REAL Colesville, Ohio please stand up?

Will the REAL Colesville, Ohio please stand up?

Now, I’ve heard about the fake streets that can be used to red-flag copyright violators, but seriously, this isn’t a cul-de-sac somewhere between wheat fields – it’s a Whole Freaking City.

Or if there is some kind of bizarre historic significance or a link between the seemingly-nonexistent Colesville, Ohio – though it’s mentioned in the 1875 book “The Birds and Seasons of New England” and in a 1855 newspaper article -and Canton, I’d love to hear it.

So, seriously, Google Maps? Where’d Canton go? Jenn’s supposed to be picking up lunch on her way home and I’d hate to think she’s lost in Colesville.

October 23, 2009 Posted by | geek, Ohio, photos, Travel, Web/Tech | , , , , , | 8 Comments

   

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