Stamen is a design and technology studio in San Francisco.

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    Mar 9, 2011

    Mondo WIndow: what you're looking at out your airplane window

    Today's the day to announce, along with Laughing Squid and CNET, the public beta of Mondo Window, which lets you see what you're looking at out your airplane window. As far as we know, this is the first site designed specifically for use with in-flight internet, but those bragging rights are less important than the fact that now YOU CAN FIND OUT WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT OUT THE WINDOW OF THE PLANE YOU ARE FLYING IN.

    Ahem.

    The idea is that, if you're online and in the air (and the Mondo Window guys have been blowing my mind with the technical, infrastructural and business models that allow this to happen), you can access the various APIs that track where all the planes are. And if you can do that, and you know what plane you're on, Mondo Window can more or less know where your plane is. And if we know that, and we know more or less how high your plane is, then we know what you can see out the window on both sides of the plane. And then we can show you relevant Wikipedia and Flickr content, and Bob's your uncle!

    We've been working hard on the project with Greg Dicum, Tyler Freeman and Tyler Sterkel at our studio for the past two months, in a rapid cycle of conceptualize-develop-deploy cycle that often turned over in a single day. The team took over one of the extra rooms off the main corridor, a situation that made me really happy as it's the kind of thing I hoped would happen we moved into a too-big space, and I'm really pleased that Mike led this effort inside the studio.

    The site was launched with an eye towards capturing the attention of the rampaging hordes of geeks heading to South by SouthWest on nerd birds in the coming days, so we've concentrated on providing content for the parts of the country that people are likely to be flying over as they take commercial flights to Austin. I love this map that Greg drew for us at the early stages of the project, showing the parts of the country that people are likely to be flying over as they head to Austin:

    Of course, it doesn't cover the routes that the investors from Jackson Hole are taking in their private jets, but that's the web for you.