14 November 2008 | Team Tamar

The best websites in the world…ever.Vol. 28

Now I bought a house a few months ago – I know, I know, house price crash blah blah – so I’m currently blocking out all news related to house prices thank you very much. However during the (long) search for our perfect home we went completely online and the best of these sites was globrix. This site is a real benchmark for any web 2.0 type site (mash ups – tick, clever user experience – tick, etc etc) and is pretty interesting even if you are not house hunting. You can search in traditional list-mode, or select Google map mode, which I found really useful for making sure I was avoiding the (many) dodgy areas in South London. You can tailor your search by almost every criteria imaginable, and there are even helpful extras including a graph of actual prices within your search, so you can see how much you are being ripped off/getting a bargain. It’s a truly excellent modern website. For all you house-hunters out there I can also recommend Nethouseprices for historical records of prices in your area, and Propertysnake to see how much house prices are falling – drops in price on individual properties are tracked.

My second site doesn’t have the looks of globrix, but satisfies my British obsession with the weather. Weather Underground is a huge weather site that I find to be the most regularly accurate for global weather. It’s great because it has an extended forecast for anywhere in the world, which is very useful for planning holiday packing, and the obligatory bragging about the weather (it’s 28 degrees in Cape Town as you read this by the way – I know, I’ve checked). I also love all the extra things on this site; you can track hurricanes!! Check out global sea temperatures!! Brilliant!

Finally, and this is a weird one, is a site that I first discovered back in 2001/2002 when the International Space Station was big in the science news. I’ve always been fascinated with space travel and ‘what is out there’, although as someone with fear of flying I suspect I’ll never get there! At the time I really wanted to try and spot the Space Station (you can apparently see it from Earth if you know what you are looking for and where to look). Nasa’s J-Track allows you to see exactly where the ISS and major satellites are at any time and if you keep refreshing (click the map to see it changing) you can see them moving. When a shuttle is in space you can also track it – extra good if it’s docked at ISS. You can even overlay the current weather conditions! There is also J-Track 3D, which is mind boggling! It 3D plots loads of satellites and other space stuff in their orbit around Earth – click on each ‘dot’ to bring up the trajectory and name of each satellite. The graphics now look a little clunky in our world of Google Earth and other location/tracking sites, but I still love (coming over all Patrick Moore now) the fact you can find out what, and how much there is going on in our skies. If anyone has any other space tracking sites please let me know, as I’d love to see them!

Team Tamar