Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two Amazing Google Maps Experiments

Last week Google announced the Google Maps API for Flash. Google added a number of examples of how the new API could be used in the Google Maps Demo Gallery.

Christophe Coenraets has used the new Google Maps for Flash API to create the impressive MapRooms. MapRooms are similar to chat rooms - in fact they are chat rooms but with maps that you can work on collaboratively with other users.

To get an idea of how this works you can open up two browser windows and join the same map room with two different user names. When you draw on the map in one browser your drawing will simultaneously appear in the other. Amazing!

The screen shot below shows how MapRooms could be used to give directions to a friend.

I'm sure MapRooms has huge potential. Hopefully it will soon come with other features, like the ability to add tags and polylines to the map. I'd like to see street view added as well, so that you can share a virtual tour of a city with other users. I'm sure the possibilities are endless.

Mobile Maps
Mobile Maps is another very simple but revolutionary idea. Mobile Maps uses the Google Maps API with the Google Static Maps API to create small user created maps that can then be sent to a mobile phone.

Initially you are presented with a full-screen Google Map. You zoom in on the map area you wish to send, then you click on the e-mail envelope icon. When you click on the e-mail icon an e-mail message is generated containing a link to a Static Google Map of your chosen location.

Therefore using Mobile Maps it is possible to send a link of a static map to any mobile phone user. Any mobile user (regardless of the mobile terminal capabilities) will then be able to receive this map.

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