Tony Hirst (OUseful blog) informed me that there already is an example of a mashup combining Google Maps and the Simile Timeline ajax-based controls. And with a little digging I found another example as well. Here they are:
- Jörn Clausen created a map/timeline mashup to show when and where earthquakes are occurring. See this example.
- Alistair Rutherford combines google maps and simile timeline with gTraffic, which shows traffic information for Britain. He is rewriting it using Adobe Flex, however.
A few more things here and there and these controls could be used as a basis for a general purpose history learning tool. As an aside, a while back I looked around for an open source alternative to Google Maps, and I came across a nice one called OpenLayers.