For ages I’ve been trying to create a map of countries I have visited. I’ve driven my friends mad — discussing the best world map sets on the market, the advantages of layering, graphics programmes versus Flash, the ‘I wish I could afford my personal GIS license’ etc. And today I discovered a Dutch genius has created a simple programme that let’s you create exactly that: a map of the world showing where you have visited. So below is my map as of June 2006.

I love it! It’s so exciting to see the swatches of grey, as-yet-unexplored territory, and the none-too-shabby red highlights: At 47 countries that’s 20% of the world’s nations. Current travel ambition? To get to the Antipodes (that’s Australia, New Zealand and the like), so that this ‘Six Continent Chick’ can graduate to a ‘Seven Continent Chick and have actually been to every continent. (That would be my one improvement — add Antarctica dude!)

While my personalized world map may not be quite as fun a presentation as Matt, the dancing guy, I’ll happily take this elegantly simple map I’ve been dreaming of. Thanks Douwe. (Try creating your own visited countries map.)

Creator Douwe Osinga — who works for none other than Google — has also created a bunch of other fun projects that beg to be tinkered with. You can access them here. (Mr Osinga also has that uncanny eternal boyish appeal, at least if that’s a current photo on his site. 37? Looks more like mid-20s!)

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