STOP PRESS: Someone discovered how to “display a map on a computing device”

No really. They did. Unbelievable right? For years we were trying to do this without success apparently. Otherwise how could you explain why Apple filed a patent request for just that? The “inventors” (honestly, they are called that) in Claim 1 are stating:

A method for displaying a map on a computing device, Comprising: storing information to be displayed on the map in a memory of the computing device, the stored information comprising a plurality of different layers of information, wherein each layer contains a respective type of information; displaying a map on a display of the computing device, the map comprising a plurality of the layers of information superimposed upon one another; in response to a user selection of a display mode corresponding to a topic of interest, displaying at least one layer containing information that is associated with the selected mode; and enhancing the value of at least one display parameter for map features of each displayed layer that are associated with the selected mode, relative to a default value for the display parameter.

Sounds familiar maybe? Anyway, there is an effort in patents.stackexchange.com asking for “Prior Art” – which basically means any documentation dating before June 5, 2012 (the date of Apple’s patent request), available in the public domain so as to determine whether a patent application describes a new and nonobvious invention. Blindigly obvious you may think. Apart from anything else its really interesting to see the answers as they contains lots of historical facts about GIS including the 1987 video where William Shatner presents GRASS GIS

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