I have been working on a web journal for my family vacations. My original idea was to use php to organize the pages and images, with CSS to control the overall look and feel. Last week, I found a nice application called TexMaker, which is a nice Latex editor. So, I started doing some writing and used latex2html to create the web pages. Even nicer, TexMaker works on Windows 7 also. I use Latex on Ubuntu and MiKTeX on Windows 7. latex2html creates automatically a link to a css style file with which I can change the look.
In the process of writing my journal, I came back to my wish of illustrating our trip with a map showing the flight paths. I have tried this with Google Earth but am not really happy with it. Marble does not have the facility (or has removed it due to dependence on a non-open source route definition.
I asked myself, why not try some old code that I used in graduate school? I just need a simple black and white map with a great circle. I went over to the NCAR website to see how things have changed over 20 years. I was very happy to see a thriving community around this software and many examples which actually work.
I see this excersize as bringing me eventually back to my research. Since giving up on IDL (the image processing software), I am relying purely on open source software.