Sunday, August 26, 2007

The World Factbook

The United States of America have this government organization called the Central Intelligence Agency, commonly known as the CIA and they have an on-line publication called "The World Factbook". They allow The World Factbook to reside in the public domain so you are free to use and copy its contents at any time for any purpose without the need to obtain permission, they just ask that you "cite The World Factbook" where you use their information and "Don't use our CIA seal on your own work, please."

Fair enough.

That said, there is a lot of interesting information there. If you like touring Google Earth (which, by the way, has just been updated so as to allow you to view star constellations) simply to check the planet out then this is an excellent reference full of tidbits about the places you are visiting.

The front page greets you with links to appendixes, guides, low-bandwidth versions, downloadable versions, flags of the world and a search feature. Everything any good government site should have. Near the top of the page is a drop-down list full of country names and world regions.

So, I check out Australia. The page opens up with a map of the country and the first thing I notice is that my home town is on it.

-Image from The World Factbook

Usually Gladstone is missing from a map like this, instead showing the location of Rockhampton just to the north. I suppose this means that although most people in the rest of Australia might think Rockhampton is more important being on Highway 1 and having the larger population, to the CIA at least, Gladstone is more interesting.

Below the map in point form is a very detailed analysis in point form about geography, population, government, economy, communications, transportation, military and international issues including a note at the bottom of the page stating that Tasmania is one of the world's major suppliers of licit opiate products.

It's an interesting read if nothing else. And there is similar depth of information of any country you care to click on. Wiki will give you different information. So if you are cruising around in Google Earth and you find something interesting, like the land-locked Andorra, and you want to know a bit more about it that the Wiki offers, if you want specifics, check out The World Factbook.


Iris Flavia said...

Hi Jon, I just checked Daniel´s blog on his bd-post (a little late) and just loved your quote "The older you get, the older old gets." :-)
I hope you don´t mind if I say so from time to time, too?

Being german I just lately got introduced to "...with toungue in cheek" and was amused to find it here, too (what it really means I´m not sure, though).

I just wanted to thank you for the "older-" quote but I hate it when people pick just the newest post and comment blindly. So by scrolling down I found this post - great link and I was astonished to find Mackay there, too :-)
But darn it, they forgot Carnarvon! ;-)

starez said...

Hmm..might have something to do with Gladstone being the 2nd most accessible port in Australia + (possibly) the fact that US Marines regularly visit Gladstone and stay there for a few weeks every coupla years - + Gladstone will (eventually) be much larger than Rockhampton (in my own opinion