Hákarl and more exciting food!

Have you ever tried Hákarl, the rotten shark of Iceland? Chef Anthony Bourdain, who has travelled extensively throughout the world sampling local cuisine has described hákarl as "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he has ever eaten.

Still, the people of Iceland think it's a delicacy and most travelers to Iceland like to try it out to see for themselves if it's really as bad as people say it is.

Image: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons
Eating rotten shark in Iceland, drinking Snake Wine in Laos or having Balut eggs for breakfast in the Philippines is just one of those things that makes travel such a great experience.

We're busy adding exciting food experiences to our guides and we're taking the algorithmic approach, as you would expect from us. So for each country we automatically compile a list of dishes and we rank them algorithmically. We're still tweaking things a little, but things are looking pretty good already.

Currently, in Iceland Hákarl has the number two position in our ranking - number one is Þorramatur which includes half a head of a sheep so that seems just as exciting. The Balut eggs top the charts in Vietnam. And these delicious caterpillars have the top spot in Zimbabwe...

1.6 coming up!

During the Jamboree we spent a lot of time on making a new version of our App and we've just uploaded it to the Appstore. We'll launch the new version for Android soon as well, so in a week or so the whole world can enjoy Triposo 1.6. As always there are lots of small improvements, fresher content and better suggestions to name just two, but also a few bigger ones. Since you are probably most interested in those let's have a look at them.

A new button!
When you open up the guide of a destination you are actually in, you will find a new button. Whoa! Click it and you get an overview of all the places around you ordered by distance.

What's interesting to notice is that this list contains both points of interest we have detailed information on, as well as places that we don't know very well.

When you hit on a place we don't have a good description for, you can immediately add you own content to it. The next step in many cases will be to check in. Our checkin functionality works offline and check ins can be published to Facebook (but it's not necessary). Check ins also show up on your travel log.

Add places
Now that you can give your fellow travelers the low down on all the places around you, you probably want to add a few places no one has ever heard of as well. The good news is: you can! There is a plus button (another new button!) which opens a little wizard.

We review all the things you add, and where possible we try to feed them back into the appropriate sources to help out great open content projects like Wikitravel, OpenStreetMap or ChefMoz.

Your travel log
Finally, we've launched the travel log website. All the check ins you do in the app, end up here on our website - even the checkins you did with the old version. We present all your checkins on the map, and you can navigate them easily.

A Twisted World

When I was fourteen I got this book about Life after Man. It's about how 50 million years after humanity goes, life has evolved into all kinds of new wonderful forms. But what really got my interest were the maps. The continents had moved. So I tried to write a program to simulate the movement of continents. What I quickly realized, is that it can't be done. Not on a mercator projection.

The mercator projection is one of many attempts to get a globe on a map and a rather bad one when it comes to representing the actual size of continents. Africa seems just a tat bigger than Greenland, Spitsbergen seems about the size of Indonesia. You have to wonder whether on some level we think less of Africa because it seems smaller (or for that matter we think less of continents on the lower half).

Last summer we decided to replace our tile based mapping system with a vector based one. But for compatibility reasons we still are sticking with Mercator. The vector maps are great for our travel guides, but they also gave us the tools to show the world in Mercator projection with Europe and North America in the middle. It looks something like this:

Greenland in the middle - looks a lot smaller than Africa now

So during our recent Jamboree in Marrakech in this strange, exciting environment Vincent and me set out to create an interactive tool to make it possible to explore the universe of Mercator projected maps. As weird as they are, they're all equally correct in representing our planet as a bitmap. It took quite a bit of beer and math (we had to divide the work, Vincent doesn't drink), but here it is, powered by processing.js.

Some examples of the twisted maps you can make with our interactive tool:

Asia as the south pole

An ozzie centric world

Africa on the North Pole
I guess you are curious to try out to see if you can create even weirder looking maps. So go and check our labs section and see our twisted maps.