Here are a few pieces of context that users seem to always need in view in order to understand family history:
- Maps (current and historical)
- History (local, national, world)
I've seen some interesting mashups trying to put one or more of these pieces of context together. For example, the following two sites have interesting mashups with google maps: www.linkr.org, www.linkr.org/temples. Of these important elements of context, history and historical maps are particularly hard to deliver dynamically in the context of family history. I believe it is due to the lack of an easily searchable and addressable collection of content. Wouldn't it be great if there was a public domain data set with a rich API for searching and distributing this type of content in context? Perhaps this is something that the guys at WeRelate.org can take on. Simply link the history and historical maps to their location authority, make the data elements addressable with sufficient granularity and provide an API. Oh yeah, and get a bunch of people to help populate the content.