Sunday, November 13, 2005

GeoRSS Map Viewer

Jef Poskanzer has created the "GeoRSS Map Viewer" which is a Google Maps application that displays Yahoo! Simple Maps files. This viewer would be targeted at those of you creating Google Maps tools and mashups. For the Google Maps enthusiast, check out the maps created by this viewer towards the end of this post.

Jef gives some additional background on GeoRSS and the map creation process for Google and Yahoo!:
GeoRSS is a simple XML-based file format used for adding location information to data items. It is based on RSS 2.0, plus a couple additional elements - and - that let you specify the geographical location of each element.

Creating a Yahoo! Simple Map is just a matter of writing a fairly simple XML file, while creating even the simplest Google Maps app requiries writing a program in JavaScript. Since most people are not programmers, you might expect Yahoo! Simple Maps to vastly outnumber Google Maps apps. In fact, the reverse seems to be true: there are many more Google Maps apps than Yahoo! Simple Maps. Why? I think it's just because Google Maps is prettier and has a more pleasant user-interface. Yahoo! eventually decided the same thing, and came out with AJAX and Flash APIs that are just as nice as Google's. But they are also as complicated to program as Google's.

So, this page tries to give you the best of both worlds. It reads the same XML data files used by Yahoo! Simple Maps, does the same geocoding, but it displays the data as a Google Map. This lets you combine the ease of creating a Yahoo! Simple Map with the nice user-interface of a Google Maps app.

Here are some maps that have been created using this:

California State Parks
BART and Caltrain stations Together
Yahoo! News Breaking Stories
Others:
Premshree Pillai's Hurricane Rita, Joe Crawford's San Diego Bloggers, Jamie Glenn's San Francisco Dog Parks, Asher Blum's Sunnyvale Street Maintenance, potrerohillsf.com's Potrero Hill Robberies.

Don't forget Jef's other Google Maps creations:

Google Planimeter - Measure Area
Paris Star Forts
Transpac 2005 Tracks
USA HotSprings
Post a Comment