Monday, May 08, 2006

A Google Maps mashup for every Olympic nation

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Here is a fantastic idea for a Google Maps mashup using publicly accessible data. Canadian Peter Giles has used the Google Maps API to create a map of the 200+ athletes on the Canadian Olympic Team. It displays map pins by birthplace, hometown, and residence. Here are the tools and resources he used to create the map:
This is a mapping concept that should be replicated to every Olympic nation. In most cases data about national Olympic athletes is accessible online, so creating a mashup like this should be possible in almost every country. If it isn't online, the information could easily be obtained and entered into a simple database. In fact, each national Olympic committee should build a map like Peter's. Corporate sponsors could also build maps that feature significant locations for the athletes they sponsor - hometown, training location, competitions could all help fans track their big star on an interactive map.

To me, this map creation is why the Google Maps API is so great. The maps that are facilitated by it allow you to make real connections to pieces of information that are relevant to you. When Peter first sent me this map, I immediately went to check which athletes are close to my current home and my hometown. I learned more about various athletes and even discovered a few live right here in my home community! This map browsing experience allowed me to bring location-based relevance to people that represent my country and as a result I now know more about because of a Google Maps mashup that someone built out on the web.

Every country should have an Olympic Team map! (Can you tell I'm excited about this? :)) If you build one for your country, be sure to let me know! :)
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