3D Maps on a 1990s Mac?
In November of 1995, I traveled to Philadelphia to exhibit Accordance at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. I think we were at version 1.1a back then and offering a sneak preview of Accordance 2.0. At that time a lot of people doubted the long-term viability of Macintosh computers, and a Mac-only Bible program certainly raised eyebrows. Yet for those who took the time to see what Accordance could do, even this early version managed to drop jaws as well as raise eyebrows.
About halfway through the conference, I tagged along with our lead programmer (then our only programmer) to the suite of a man who was developing satellite images and 3D maps of Israel. I remember he was using an expensive silicon graphics workstation to generate the 3D maps and you had to wear a special pair of goggles to view them. The coolness of seeing these images was offset somewhat by this gentleman's joke that if I broke the goggles I would have to pay in the tens of thousands to replace them!
After the technology demonstration we spent some time discussing the possibility of incorporating similar features into Accordance. I didn't realize at the time how ambitious a goal this really was. Personal computers at that time did not have anywhere near the horsepower necessary for such advanced applications, and our programmer would have to resort to a variety of innovative techniques in order to process all the necessary data.
It ended up being several years before we released the first version of the Accordance Bible Atlas, and it proved to be years ahead of its time. You could create 3D maps of any part of the biblical world and fly through them in real time—on relatively modest Mac hardware. To this day no other computerized atlas offers the same level of power and flexibility.
I'll tell you more about the development of the Accordance Bible Atlas in my next post, but if you have yet to acquire this ground-breaking tool, now is your chance to pick it up at a significant discount. In fact, we're currently offering several of our most popular graphic resources at a steep discount, including some excellent photo collections. Be sure to take advantage of the sale, and look to my next post to find out how the Atlas was initially received.