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Coming Soon: An Atlas for PocketBible

Posted on: October 12th, 2007 by Craig Rairdin 13 Comments

Many of you have asked about maps and we’re finally in a position to offer some good maps for PocketBible. You’ll see these first for PocketBible for Windows and PocketBible for Pocket PC. There’s no reason they wouldn’t work in MyBible but we have some other work going on in MyBible right now so I don’t know the status of when these will get implemented. Anyway, below is a screen shot. Click the picture for a full-sized view.

For this screen shot I put the atlas book in the upper right window and opened two dictionaries below it. On the left is the basic placenames dictionary that comes with the product and on the right is the New Bible Dictionary from Inter Varsity Press. I right-clicked on “Capernaum” in Matthew 11:23 and selected “Lookup”. This caused my map book to show me the “New Testament Palestine” map and scrolled both dictionaries below it to their articles on Capernaum. I can now click on any placename on the map and the dictionaries will show me their articles on that place.

The map book contains about a dozen maps that cover all the important time periods and places in the Bible. It comes with a placename dictionary in a separate book, but it will actually work with any dictionary you have that contains entries for the placenames you select. Pricing is TBD but will be very affordable.

The product works the same way on a Pocket PC, but of course the screen is smaller. You can choose to shrink the maps to fit the screen or use them full-size. We’re working on some better ways to scroll the display when a large map is displayed.

Anyway somebody asked about what new content is coming. That’s your answer. There’s a lot more in the pipeline.

You might recognize that these maps are from our friends at Manna (

13 Responses

  1. Jerry says:

    These look great! Any chance their timelines will be included?

  2. What’s included in the current product is about 12 maps and several hundred articles. Depending on the success of this product we may do more. We like the work they do there at Manna and are happy to be able to work with them.

  3. Aaron Evans says:

    Looks great! I’ve been waiting forever for this. Now we just need some Hebrew/Greek books.

  4. Ed Hansberry says:

    This looks awesome. I have been waiting for maps/charts like this for years on PB. Well done.

    This does bring up a slight deficiency in PB for the desktop. The view you are showing there looks good for atlas viewing, but not so much for studying. It would be nice if we could set up custom views that we could rapidly switch to. FOr example, for reading/studying, I use a Bible, Dictionary and Commentary window with the Personalization Window. For atlas viewing, I may want to use soemthing similar to what you have shown above. For daily reading, I would want a different set of books. In fact, I don’t use daily reading on my PC because it would mess up my windows for reading/studying.

    Perhaps I just haven’t figured out how to effectively use the window settings, but it seems to me everytime I make a change, it takes me 15 minutes to get it back to my “study view.”

  5. Joe T. says:

    Great idea! Sounds like a great option for PocketBible/Windows would be custom “desktop” tabs…one for reading/studying, one for maps, one for daily reading, etc.

  6. We agree and saved layouts has been on the list since before we shipped the first version.

    OTOH remember I created this screen shot for the express purpose of showing off the map in one shot. In my normal configuration I have the Bible on the left (top to bottom), a commentary window in the upper right, and a dictionary window in the lower left. I just open the atlas and its articles in the dictionary window as below.

    If I want I can drag the border between the commentary and dictionary windows up and get out of the parallel view and I’m looking at the whole map with one drag and one click, as below.

    Putting things back the way they were is a couple clicks of the “Back” button.

    So yes, I agree that saved layouts are a good idea and you’ll see them in the program eventually. But I strongly disagree that it takes 15 minutes to switch views. In most cases a couple taps will get you what you want.

  7. Dale Durnell says:

    Craig, this is going to be wonderful —

    I’m elated that you’re able to market a mapping program — In my opinion, this is more important to me than having the ability to take notes inside the program. I’ve got plenty of text editing options, but when I want to look up a map, there is no substitute for having one inside the program (“sorta kinda” like turning to the “book of maps” in the back of my printed Bible).

    I’ve still got a copy of PCBAWin. ver 1.0j (the stand alone mapping program that had a link to QVWin but was never really intergrated into it). It was a really solid product. even if it had a quirk about how it handled “True Color.” However, IMHO, the Bible mapping program that you marketed and that was released with the 32bit version of QVWin (as early as ver 5.1) was absolutely unparalleled in the market place (and remains so today). Oh, how I wish I could still get that installed on my system and not have to fool with the rest of the QVWin package.

    I look forward to the release of this module.


  8. Without a doubt, PC Bible Atlas and the subsequent integrated version of the same in QV5 was amazing. We set out to do with Bible maps what we had done with the Bible text. We had a list of every place name in the Bible, and the locations (or alleged locations) of each. You could create your own maps by selecting places from our database. You could create routes and add little graphical images.

    You could measure distances, which was not just “n pixels = 1 mile”, but rather each map background knew the mathematical formula for its projection. You got actual distance along the surface of the earth regardless of projection used for the underlying map. With respect to projection, each background used the appropriate projection based on its distance from the equator, size, and other factors. Also related to that was that all the place names were stored in a database with their latitudes and longitudes then converted to map coordinates when you displayed them.

    Unfortunately, the interest in mapping programs never paid for the development time that went into that product. It turned out we could’ve published a bunch of scanned maps from the back of the Ryrie Study Bible and made the same amount of money. Not that making money was the ultimate goal — my point is simply that it didn’t pay for the development time that went into it, so why not do something developmentally simpler that still meets 75% or 90% of peoples’ needs?

    So… we’re not trying to re-create PC Bible Atlas. Instead we’re just giving you some nice interactive maps. I think they’ll be very useful and it’s not costing us a million dollars to develop (I’m sure we easily had $2 million in PCBA).

    Those were the days, though. :-)

  9. Dale Durnell says:

    Well, I appreciate the interactive part. I think that’s always been one of the best features of a digital mapping system. Otherwise, you’re right, I could cut the maps out of my New Interpreter’s Study Bible, scan them as a .BMP, and create a series of maps — but they would not be interactive — they’d still just be “pictures” of maps and I’ve already got that in the back of my leather bound Bible.

    I look forward to this next installment — I’m really anxious to see how it will work on a handheld — that small screen has to be a much bigger challenge for you than making it fit a desktop.


  10. Yeah why do you think I’m up writing code at this time of the night? :-)

  11. Chris Walley says:

    A bit off topic

    Just noticed that Spb Pocket Plus 4.0 has manged to get a really cool finger scrolling working on Pocket IE. It would be wonderful if this could be implemented on PocketBible. Craig try it and see!

    (And any chance of a full screen option!)

    Chris Walley

  12. You must not be reading the iPhone articles here. See the end of this post: for a link to a video showing PocketBible with flick scrolling.

    I’ve since removed it from the app because it’s not like a browser where the entire page is in memory. We have to load the text as you scroll because the whole Bible is one document so it’s a little jerky in real life use. You may see it come back in the future; just don’t look for it in the next update.

  13. Chris Walley says:

    Craig, I’m a Brit. Here the iPhone would cost a quarter of my monthly salary to buy and another tenth to run! :-)

    Anyway I like the Pocket PC Plus implementation


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