Using Google Streetmap view in your blog, possible security concerns to be aware of

As Google recently release Streetmap view in Israel and Ukraine recently, I’m betting that lots of bloggers interested in the middle east will want to make use of this in their writings.

I wrote a few days ago, with some screen shots of my browser, I have noticed a few things that you might want to be aware of:

Firstly, if you make screen shots of your computer’s browser, be sure to obliterate any occurrences of your name or email address you see, this is quite important when using Google’s services which are all tied to a Gmail address.

Where I have written an “X” – don’t use this URL as a link to your site at the top of your browser, it won’t work, it will just take a click directly to the regular address.

Instead click on the little chain icon here as shown by arrow, this will give you a usable URL your visitors can click on to get to a certain angle of street you want to look at.

Now this bit is important:

If lets says, you enter your home or workplace address, then jump to a different place, the URL you plan to make public will show the original place I did a search for.   Zoom on this pic and look at the underlined bits I have highlighted in orange.

Hence, be careful!  you might give private details of where you live or work to the whole world!

Instead, clear any search inquiry, and just zoom straight in on the place you want to take a shot off, copy and paste the URL you plan to make public on your blog or social media, and look carefully at the (very long) URL to make sure there is nothing personal that indicate a previous search you did.

Here is an example of this done without care:,+london,+uk&hl=en&ll=51.506967,-0.124023&spn=0.007519,0.01929&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.099308,79.013672&hq=downing+street,&hnear=London,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.506967,-0.124023&panoid=cgfjh0ts_Mc38hIdERRcoQ&cbp=12,329.67,,0,2.6

This web address actually is close to Embankment in London, but I actually changed the location of the place I was searching from 10 Downing Street to another location, but the search terms are still embedded in the URL.

I tend to paste this into a different web browser, in this case Internet Explorer 9 which I don’t use very often, clearly shows where I searched for.

So there you have it, just be careful if you want to show Streetmap view snapshots of places, and have fun!

Journeys of Jesus – Travelling between Nazareth to Jerusalem

Revisiting part of my trip to Nazareth from a few months ago.

In my job I often have to go up to a warehouse in Karmiel, a large food bank which supplies food for the poor in the greater Galilee area, to service computer equipment which requires me to visit every so often.

One of the unique things I like about my job is going to visit this site to do a few days work and doing some sightseeing around the Galilee, meaning I can see Nazareth, Cana, Akko and Tiberias not too far away.   As there is no dedicated IT person based up there, so maintenance requires a fair bit of planning if I need to take a laptop, tools and software CDs, this means I am doing a 2.5-3 hour trip up there from Jerusalem, which makes me think is a trip Jesus would be very familiar with, although Karmiel is much further up than Nazareth.

In Matthew 20: 17-19 the scriptures talk about Jesus “going up” to Jerusalem even though its south of course, part of this is to do with the high elevation that the city is on as well as its great significance for Jewish and Christian people alike.

Getting to Nazareth is quite easy on an Egged bus or even with this above Nazareth based coach operator.

Being in the middle of the Galilee region of Israel, there aren’t railway connections here like all of the (Ashdod / Ashkelon / Herzilya / Yaffo / Tel Aviv  / Netanya / Haifa / Akko / Nahariya) coastal cities have in Israel.

I often think about how often Jesus himself traveled between the two locations, if I were some other kind of mobile tradesman and lived here before cars and buses, there is a number of challenges, stopping for food and where to stay overnight, risks of attacks by bandits/robbers, extreme heat, mosquitos, having enough (3 litres a day per person minimum) water for the journey, steep hills, presents all manner of challenges.

I am wondering if people at the time of Jesus owned camels and donkeys or if they were rented.


Arab people in rural parts of the country may have camels (which are still expensive today)   or ancient Peugeot 504 pick up trucks are the other favourite, this one is full of sheep.

Some historians have said it takes 3 1/2 days by foot to go from one of these famous cities to the other.   I thought I would do some research.

Here is a map I have made with Google Maps,

You can get a closer look of this Google maps anotation:

This distance of 103kms (64 miles) one is ‘as the crow flies’ and goes across the separation barrier that fences off Judea and Samaria, what we know today as the West Bank.  (contrary to what you see in the media only 5% of the boundaries of the West Bank is concrete wall, the rest is a chain link fence)

I have only just noticed when doing this, the line passes straight through the West Bank city of Nabulus.  Given the highly mountainous terrain of this country, its unlikely it would be as simple as going via a compass back in Jesus’s time, there were plenty of political issues back then don’t forget, some places would not been safe then, especially given Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan, a Jewish man robbed and beaten up was cared for and put into a hotel for the night by a kindly stranger who as a Samaritan an ethnic group then enemies of Jews.

Closer look of this one also:

This one was suggested by Google’s planning system using today’s actual roads albeit a lot longer way around, without going through checkpoints, is quite a bit further at 151km (93 miles)

Look at the link and see carefully the main roads in Jordan, and the shape of the borders between Jordan and Syria create a pattern which looks strangely symmetrical to the route I have sketched out.   Quite bizarre.

To be honest though, its hard getting an idea of time and distance of going to and from the two great cities by foot or donkey in any more accurate terms given the challenges or land boundaries, steep hills and uncertain historical road systems, but I think it gives you a little bit of an idea.

Blogging with Google Maps

In the last few months, some of the more memorable places I have been to I have put on my Google Maps profile. I have added this on the “Blogs by location” link on the right hand side.

Please click the and + buttons to see a full view, there isn’t an easy way of adjusting the way the zoom before pasting it into my blog.

This is a great way for traveling bloggers to list your favourite places. I will consider writing a how to, if anyone else needs it.

Just one problem I have found, the new Firefox 4.0 seems to have a bug in which I can’t edit and place pins on my maps. Firefox 3.6.15, Chrome and IE8/9 don’t have this problem, and the Firefox 4 issue happens on two different PCs with Windows XP and 7.

Also you can’t create or edit a Google Maps profile under a business Gmail account, I guess Google understands the businesses don’t want their employees to carelessly list their locations of the buildings and staff live on the internet which is sensible.