Friday, May 30, 2008

Journey to the White House on Google Maps

The prolific Virender Ajmani from the Mibazaar blog has produced two Google Maps showing the life journeys of Barack Obama and John McCain from birth to ... well probably the White House for one of them.

Both maps can be set to autoplay or manual. When set on autoplay the map automatically animates from one stage of a candidate's biography on the map to the next. Both Obama and McCain are better travelled than many past presidential candidates so this geographical biography of the candidates works very well.

Both life journeys are also available as Google Gadgets. Download the gadgets to your iGoogle page here:
For more Google Maps elections mashups, click the label below..


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Google Maps Using the Google Earth Browser

Here are a few early examples of maps using the new Google Earth for the Browser plug-in. To view these maps you will need to download the plug-in from Google.

Meet Me At were one of the first with this early demo of an existing Google Map mash-up that now has new and improved Google Earth functionality.

Meet Me At enables two people to arrange a meeting on a Google Map. Choosing your meeting point involves clicking on the map roughly where you would be interested in meeting. If there is already a meeting point nearby, you can pick it up and drag it a small distance, to nudge the point slightly in your direction. The new Google Earth Browser option means you can now view your meeting point in glorious 3d.

GE in a Browser

Also from is GE in a Browser. This map is a great demonstration of Google Earth's features. The map allows you to turn on or off the sun, atmosphere, roads, 3d buildings, terrain. You can even view the Google Sky imagery from Google Earth (Hint: turn on 'On Screen Nav').

Finally you can view 300 videos of tourist destinations around the world by visiting my own Video Earth. Even if you aren't interested in the videos it is a useful map just for viewing all the amazing 3d buildings around the world produced by Google Earth users.

The Glacier Express

Another example of an existing Google Map with added Google Earth Browser functionality is Glacier Express. This map tracks the route of the famous Glacier Express train in Switzerland. Now all the mountains can be viewed in 3d using Google Earth's terrain function.

The terrain option just takes this map into another world.


Google Geo Developers Blog

The official Google Maps API Blog has retired today - it has ceased to be.

Instead Google have started a brand new Google Geo Developers Blog instead. The new blog promises to post on KML, Maps API for Flash, Static Maps, Mapplets, Google Earth, and many other geo-developer topics.

Via: Google Geo Developers Blog: Introducing our Geo Developers Blog

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Google Earth Comes to the Browser

Wow - this is huge! Google Earth is now available in your browser!!

That's right - this screen shot is not from Google Earth but is of a Google Map mash-up I adapted with one line of code.

Today Google announced the release of a new Google Earth Browser Plug-in. This means that Google Earth is now available on the web and is even embeddable within your own web site.

Even better the Google Earth API means that Google Earth features are now available to Google Maps developers.

In short you can:
  • show 3D models anywhere on the planet
  • access Google Earth's Sky mode
  • fetch KML data from the web
And, to top off the good news, the new Google Earth plug-in is very easy to add to an existing Google Map mash-up. All developers need to do is add a single line of JavaScript. If you add the new G_SATELLITE_3D_MAP map type to your MapsAPI initialization code your site will "automagically" support Google Earth via a button in the maps view

Here is quick example I threw together showing 300 videos on the new Google Earth in the browser - Video Earth

Google have put up a number of Google Earth API Examples. My favourite amongst these is this amazing Driving Demo.

Here is the now obligatory Google video of the announcement:

Via: Google LatLong: Google Earth, meet the browser


Ireland Google Maps Mashup Roundup - May 28/08

Northern Ireland Food Review

The Northern Ireland Food Review is a useful tool for finding restaurants in Northern Ireland. To start a search you simply enter your postcode, how far you wish to travel and what type of food you are looking for and all the nearby food outlets are tagged on a Google Map.

A shaded circle is also shown on the map indicating the distance you are prepared to travel. Clicking on a tagged restaurant opens an information window with a photograph and the address of the restaurant. There is also a link to a review of the restaurant.

Ireland Reserve Defence Forces
Ireland Reserve Defence Forces is a map of army and navy reserve units. The map shows all three territorial brigade areas in Ireland, with the ability to zoom in and get contact information and directions to each individual unit. The units themselves are indicated on the map by the unit's shield.

Via: Silicon Republic

Town and Country

The Town and Country website has produced a nice Google Map showing all the bed & breakfasts in Ireland.

Clicking on a tagged B&B will take you to a review of that establishment. Each individual review also includes a small Google Map showing the exact location of the bed and breakfast.

Casualty Figures
Casualty Figures is a map showing the number of patients awaiting hospital admission in Irish hospitals. 35 hospital locations in Ireland are shown on the map. The figures are for 2005-2006 so the map won't help you to discover the present number of patients awaiting hospital admission but can help you find a hospital in Ireland.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Google Maps Kayaking Directions

Every now and again Google Maps driving directions throws a curve-ball into a suggested route.

If you ask Google Maps for the driving directions from Sydney Airport to 200 Stanmore Rd, Stanmore, NSW 2048, Australia (Newington College) Step 48 suggests that you Kayak across the Pacific Ocean to Australia. The estimated length of this journey is 43 days and 6 hours, but I understand if you catch the North Equatorial Current you can seriously cut into that time.

These directions could have been useful for Emma Nunn and Raoul Christian from the UK who booked flights for what they thought was Sydney, Australia but ended up in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. Instead of a holiday on the sunny beaches of Sydney, New South Wales they ended up in a cold former mining town in Canada. However they did say they enjoyed looking at the 'pick-up trucks'. You can read more of this story at the BBC website (credit Bill Lee).

Via: Mapperz and Mibazaar

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.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Canada Google Maps Mashup Roundup - May 26/08

StopFinder Toronto:

BlogTo has the scoop on Toronto's latest Google Maps transit and urban nav mashup. StopFinder asks you for your destination, then helps you find parking or transit stops close to that location. Colour coded map markers show you the closest and the cheapest parking lots and types of transit. Perfect for that T.O. tourist, newcomer, or resident looking to traverse the city by transit or car. Check out a great interview with StopFinder's founder by BlogTO's Sameer here..

Montreal Transit Tools: Google Transit: Montreal (Google Maps service) and STM's Tous Azimuts + Google Maps (by Skander Kort)
ParkingHunter is a different kind of parking mashup:

Most parking mashups (such as StopFinder above) help you find a short term parking spot for a few hours or a few days. ParkingHunter is a Google Maps mashup for monthly parking spots in cities throughout Canada. ParkingHunter creates a map-based marketplace for homeowners looking to monetize their available parking space, and to provide a more cost effective parking option for those who need to drive into the downtown core of a city. Right now Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa and other BC, QC and ON locations are included. Find a spot or list yours to make some extra money! (If markers don't immediately show up, zoom in one level).

Homezilla: Newest Canadian housing search tool - Sandy Ward of Toronto dropped me a line to let me know about a tool they are creating called Homezilla. Homezilla lets you enter a specific address and then select various types of amenities in the area: Schools, Child Care Services, Restaurants, Pubs, Coffee Shops, Grocery Stores, Credit Unions and Dog Parks. It's a good tool to add to your arsenal of online housing search tools.

Waterloo Region Record uses My Maps to create weekly incident map:

My local newspaper makes use of Google My Maps to provide a weekly update of incidents that happened in the area. A good, easy example of how media organizations can make use of Google Maps to map their news! :)

Explore an Area on Google Maps

Holiday Maps

Holiday Maps is the latest Google Map mash-up from the prolific Map Channels. Maps Channels already hosts the popular Dual Maps (Google street view combined with Microsoft bird's eye view) and the very useful Hotel Search. Now as well as letting you find your hotel you can use Map Channel's Holiday Maps to virtually explore the location of your planned vacation.

Holiday Maps tags Panoramio photos and Wikipedia articles of your chosen location on a Google Map. The result is a little like Google Map's new 'explore' feature but with one slight improvement - Holiday Maps makes better use of the sidebar. The thumbnails of the photos and the titles of the Wikipedia articles appear in the map's sidebar so it is much easier to navigate the myriad information that has been added to the map.

Holiday Maps comes with a host of other features. It is possible to turn on street view, traffic layers, check the weather, find hotels or even add your own KML or GeoRss feeds. However the killer application has to be the numerous ways that Holiday Maps lets you add a map to your own website or blog.

Holiday Maps provides a small piece of embeddable code (similar to how you would embed a YouTube video) which enables the map to appear on your website. However you can also host your created map on your own site using Holiday Maps' API. Using the API gives you control of a whole host of parameters allowing you to change the look and features of your holiday map.

I'm sure Holiday Maps will prove to be as popular as Maps Channels' other Google Maps mash-ups. Being able to virtual explore an area and then check for available hotels is an invaluable service.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Swiss Planes Tracked on Google Maps


Radar is an absolutely stunning Google Map created by ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences). As the name Radar might suggest this is a map that shows Swiss air traffic in real-time.

The current location of airplanes is shown on the map with small plane icons. The flight-path that each plane has taken is shown by a coloured line. The colour of the line indicates the altitude of the plane.

If you click on an individual plane icon the map centres on that plane and remains focused on the plane's flight. A tabbed information window also opens with the flight details of the plane, showing the altitude, speed and its current position in latitude and longitude. If you click on the airplane tab you are also given a photograph and the manufacturing details of the individual plane.

At the moment the map just seems to be tracking flights out of Kloten Airport (Zurich). This map is not only fun to watch and interact with but is very useful for anyone who needs to meet someone off a flight. I hope they add more airports soon.

Other Flight-related Google Maps mashups


Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Their Own Words

Google have today announced a video site that will highlight some of the amazing ways that web sites have used Google Maps. At the moment the site only includes three examples KPBS, Trulia and Kayak but Google promises many more soon.

Here is the Trulia video:

Via: Google LatLong: In their own words


Finding Your Way Around Moscow


Rusavtobus is an impressive web-site that finds the fastest public transport routes between two points in Moscow, St. Petersburg or Ekaterinburg in Russia.

You can choose the starting and destination points of a journey by clicking on a Google Map, by filling in a form or by choosing from categories.

The suggested routes for your journey are then plotted on the map and the best routes are explained (as in the screen shot below).

The estimated time of each route is given, as are any changes you might have to make, the distance on foot to public transport stations and the cost of the journey. This site is very similar to the Transport for London site, that recently won a Webby, and is as easy to use.

If you don't want to take public transport and wish to drive around Moscow then you can use this driving directions Google Map for Moscow.

The map uses Google's driving directions, so if you have ever used Google Maps to find directions you will be familiar with the interface. To find a route a user enters a start and finish destination. The route is then plotted on the map and all the stages of the journey are explained in a handy sidebar.

Now you have no excuse for getting lost in Moscow.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clipper Yacht Race on Google Maps

Clipper Round the World 07/08

The yachts in the Clipper Round the World 07/08 race have passed through the Panama Canal and are now heading towards Jamaica in 30 knot winds.

How do I know this?

Well - because I'm tracking the race in real-time on Google Maps.

And what a Google Map it is. Each yacht's path in the race is tracked on the map with a different coloured polyline and the yacht's real-time position is indicated by a colourful map tag. Which, all in all, makes for a rather beautiful looking map.

Clicking on the tag of an individual yacht reveals more detailed information about the yacht's progress, including the distance to the finish, the current latitude / longitude, heading and speed.

If that isn't enough you can even watch some professionally shot footage of the race on video. The video below shows The Western Australia heading towards Panama.


Switzerland Google Maps Round-Up! (May/08)

I'm heading off for a flying visit to the lakes and mountains of Switzerland next week. So before setting off I thought it might be useful to have a quick look at the latest Google Maps mash-ups emanating from Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft/ Confédération Suisse / Confederazione Svizzera or Confederaziun Svizra (the Swiss Confederation - depending on which of the four official languages you speak)


One web-site that has already proved useful in planning my trip is the wonderfully named Smagoo. Smagoo is a site that maps hotels, restaurants and shops in Switzerland. To search the site you define the area and category (hotels, restaurants or shops) and a Google map is produced on the fly with your search results.

Clicking on one of the tagged search results on the map will take you to a page about that establishment. This page contains the address, opening hours and photos. The site is easy to use and it certainly didn't take me long to identify a number of restaurants that I shall be honouring with my custom next week.

Darktemptation is a Swiss heavy metal magazine that features an events database and a Google Map that shows heavy metal venues in Switzerland. The site is fairly intuitive to use. Venues are tagged on a map of Switzerland and clicking on one of the tagged clubs reveals the address of the club and a link to its web site.

I notice that Napalm Death are playing during my visit to the country. Unfortunately I seem to have already pencilled in a sedate boat cruise on Lake Geneva for that day.


PlebsTV is a great community driven map that members can use to map photographs, videos, audio or eyewitness reports. It is possible to search the map for members who are located in your area. When you find friends you can search their collection of mapped items. Alternatively you can just search areas on the map for items submitted by other users.

Zooming in on an area is a great way to get an idea of what the place is like from the submitted photographs and videos. It is an experience fairly similar to Google Maps' new 'Explore' option.

PlebsTV is built by a Swiss development team but the site is in English and is certainly not restricted to Switzerland.

Polizeinews Map
Polizeinews is a crime map for Zurich. Crimes are shown on the map by flashing police sirens. When you click on a flashing siren an information window opens with details about the individual crime. Each crime also carries a link to the Swiss police news site Polizenews, where the crime is explained in greater detail.

Funimap is a map of funicular railways in Switzerland. Every funicular railway in the country is tagged on a Google Map. When you click on one of the tags you are provided with a link that takes you to details and photographs of that particular funicular.

Funimap is a great hobbyist's web-site and anyone with an interest in funicular railways or who wishes to ride on one of Switzerland's many mountains should definitely give it a visit.

Other Swiss Maps We Have Liked:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mapping the Environment

Climate Change in Our World
Yesterday Google added a new layer to Google Earth designed by the British Government, the UK Met Office and the British Antarctic Survey. Thanks to some excellent work by Google Blogoscoped the information is also now available in Google Maps.

The map shows how climate change is already affecting different areas around the world and also what different areas can expect if global warming continues.

Earth Knowledge

Earth Knowledge is an environment news portal for Google Maps. It draws in news feeds about the Earth from a large number of sources and plots the information on a map.

Environmental data is available in a number of categories; Biodiversity, Land, Water and Climate. Each of those categories is then subdivided into further categories, for example 'water' is divided into Groundwater/Aquifers, Rivers/Watersheds, Water Pollution, and Wetlands. Once you have chosen a sub-category you are presented with a number of news stories in that environmental area. If you then click on the story title the news story opens in an information window on the map.

Each information window contains a link to a web page devoted to that story. This is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the environment and the world around them.


Tufts Joey Tracked on Google Maps

Joey Tracker

The Tufts Joey Tracker is a map showing the real-time position of the shuttle buses for Tufts University in Boston. The bus route is shown on the map in red and the real-time position of the buses are indicated by a bus shaped tag.

The position of the buses on the map is updated every ten seconds and their estimated time of arrival at the campus and Davis Square is shown as well. If you do want to catch the Tufts' Joey then make sure you check this map before leaving home.

Maybe one day the Joey Tracker will add Street View to the map so the rest of us can enjoy the view from the bus as well.

More Real-Time Transport Links:

Live Helsinki Transit Map
Dublin Commuter Trains
AirFox Live
Swiss Trains
San Francisco Buses
San Francisco Boats


Monday, May 19, 2008

New Rivals for Google Maps Street View

Whilst Google are forced to consider how they can comply with different privacy laws around the world before they expand Street View coverage outside the USA, two more companies have emerged that are providing 'Street View' type coverage for countries Google presently cannot reach.


EveryScape provides 'street view' type coverage for a number of US destinations but also currently has panoramic imagery available for Beijing, China and Krackow, Poland.

Everyscape presents their panoramic images alongside a Google Map. Like Google Maps' Street View it is possible to walk around by clicking on arrows on the image or navigate to different views via the map.

EveryScape contains two big improvements on Google Maps' Street View. The first is the amazing morphing between the different panoramic images. The second is that they have tagged their panoramas with Flickr photos, Yelp reviews and YouTube videos. Users can even tag the views with their own 'memo's'. Once you have tagged a panoramic image you are given your own url, so you can then share your annotations with your friends.

EveryScape has big plans and are looking for 'ambassadors' throughout the world to start creating new panoramas. I expect their coverage will be spreading to other countries very soon.


City8 is a Chinese company providing 'Street View' type panoramas for a number of Chinese locations. Like EveryScape they present 360 degree panoramic images next to a map. It is possible to move around and between different images by clicking on arrows with the images or to navigate to different views using the map.

There is a full screen button, which unlike Google's Street View, actually takes over your monitor's full screen. Links to interesting places are given below the panoramic image so it is possible to quickly navigate to local points of interest.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Live Helicopter Tracking on Google Maps

AirFox Live

We have seen real-time tracking of trains and boats on Google Maps, so I guess it was only a matter of time before we saw real-time tracking of a helicopter on Google Maps.

AirFox Live is not just any old helicopter either, but a helicopter with a TV crew aboard! So you can watch live video, shot from AirFox's helicopter, at the same time as following the journey on Google Maps. How cool is that?

AirFox flies out of Schaumburg Regional Airport, in Schaumburg Illinois. Every morning, pilot Kimberly, photographer Matt, and traffic anchor Sondra Solarte take off around 5:25 and are in the air for three hours. So if you drop into AirFox's website any time between 5:30am and 8:30am Central Time you can follow all the action as it happens.

If you log on at any other time you can watch a live 'skyline' web cam instead. I know tomorrow morning I'll be watching live!

Via: TechCrunch


O'Reilly Where 2.0 Videos

BlipTV are hosting videos of this week's talks at the O'Reilly Where 2.0 in Burlingame, California.

Where 2.0 is a yearly conference of the leading developers in location aware technology. So if you interested in the latest developments in the geo-web you should watch these talks:

"A News Feed for Your Block"
Adrian Holovaty, (EveryBlock and the founder of one of the first Google Maps mash-ups

"Building a Programmable GPS Device with BUG"
Peter Semmelhack (Bug Labs)

"State of the Geoweb"
Hanke (Google) and Dangermond (ESRI)

"Augmented Reality Lets the DPD Know Where You Are"
Tom Churchill (Earthscape)

"Convergence of Architectural and Engineering Design and Location Technology"
Geoff Zeiss (Autodesk)

"Modeling Crowd Behavior"
Paul Torrens (Arizona State University)

"The Business Case for Simulation, Gaming, and Virtual Worlds"
Denis Browne (SAP Labs, LLC)

Teething Problems for Google's Face Blurring

This week Google introduced face blurring technology in their new street view imagery for Manhattan. However, either Google are having some teething problems with their new technology or this horse had previously sold his image rights to 'Horse and Hound' magazine.

If you are interested in browsing through some interesting street views these street view directories might interest you:

Via: Streetviewr


Thursday, May 15, 2008

UK Google Maps Mashup Roundup! (May/08)

UK based geo-developers have been busy as once again we have been inundated with submissions from the eastern side of the pond. I guess it must be time for another UK Google Maps Mashup Roundup!

Get London Reading

In order to get Londoners reading Get London Reading have developed a Google Map to help Londoners find books set near their work, home, or favourite places. So far there are over 400 books geo-tagged, and users can submit their own recommendations - so this number is set to grow.

Each book is tagged on the map with a picture of the book's cover (which I find is always a good way to judge a book). Clicking on the book's cover opens an information window that contains a brief summary of the book in question.

Adding a book to the map couldn't be easier. All you have to do is double click on the location where you want to add a book and fill in the resulting form.

If you have an interest in reading about an area of London there can't be many better ways of discovering what books to read.


Hacienda is a UK property map that shows properties for sale or rent in the UK on an easy to use and interactive map. Users search the map by location, post-code, by school name or by transport type. Results can then be filtered by type of property, price and number of bedrooms.

Available properties are tagged on the map with a small house icon. When you click on a house a photo and details appear in the right hand side-bar.

Britain's Finest
Britain's finest is a Google Map of hotels, bed & breakfasts, leading attractions, gardens, museums, galleries and historic houses in Britain.

Each county in the UK gets its own map with all the hotels and points of interest mapped. Clicking on one of the map tags will display details of the location in the left-hand side-bar.

London Teenage Murders Map

Crime maps are a hot topic in the UK at the moment, as is the recent spate of teenage murders in London. Over the last weekend another innocent young Londoner was killed when he tried to help a shopkeeper whose store was being attacked. This map tags all the teenage murders in London this year.

In mapping the murders in this way the map gives some geographical / spatial awareness of the problem. A small cluster of murders in north London, for example, could be a warning that gang activity is a particular problem in this area at the moment.

Disclaimer: this one was built by me!

Auction Search Kit
Auction Search Kit is a tool to help people purchase goods from eBay. Users enter a search term, their UK post-code and then define the number of miles around their home they wish to see results for.

The results are then tagged on the map. Each information window contains a photo and a brief description of the item.

Auctions Near You
Auctions Near You provides a very similar service, allowing users to search for eBay auctions near their home. Again users enter a search term, their UK post-code and restrict results to a chosen distance.

The results are then tagged on the map. Each information window contains a photo and a brief description of the item.

Match Hotels

Match Hotels is a useful service for sports fans as it allows you to search for hotels in the proximity of sports venues.

To find hotels you first choose the stadium you will be visiting and then enter the distance from the stadium you wish to search. Results are then shown on a Google Map with photographs of the hotels, a brief description and the hotel's star rating.

Match Hotels even has a partner programme - so if you own a sports blog or website you can add Match Hotel to your site and share in any generated commission.

StreetSize is a social networking Google Map mash-up designed "to make it easier for local people to communicate with each other."

Users tag their location on a Google Map and can see other users in their area. It is possible to start a discussion on an area by clicking on the map. So, for example, a group of users could tag a number of restaurants on the map and start a discussion about which restaurant they wish to visit and what time they want to meet up etc.

Cycle Route
Cycle Routes is a Google Map of user submitted cycle routes. Routes are shown on a Google Map and stages on the route are tagged with a red marker. Above the individual route-maps information is given on the ride's difficulty, its length and even how many calories you can expect to burn.

Get biking!

Google Maps News

Google News on Google Maps

On Tuesday Google added a Wikipedia layer to Google Maps, yesterday real estate was added and now we hear that a news layer will be added to Google Maps next week. Items from Google News will be available on Google Maps via the new 'More' button.

Update: The latest news on this is that Google News will be added to Google Earth not Google Maps next week.

Google Maps API for Flash

The other big announcement made from Google is the Google Maps API for Flash. This new API means that Flash developers can start developing Google Maps mash-ups.

An early example of Google Maps in Flash is this Map Photo Gallery (hint: click on the 'show photo gallery' button at the bottom of the map).

Another early example of Google Maps in Flash is an application from Navx. This map contains a huge database of different collections of locations. Users can add their own collections to the map so this database should grow and grow.

The Google Maps API blog also has another example of a Flash map that is synchronised to a video. When the location in the video changes the map automatically centres itself on the new location.

Just looking at these early example it seems like the Google Maps API for Flash will open up whole new areas for Google Maps mash-ups.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Real Estate Added to Google Maps

Yesterday Google added Wikipedia to Google Maps, today they have added Real Estate. To display real estate for sale in your location choose the 'Show Search Options' link next to the 'Search Maps' button and then choose 'Real Estate' from the drop down menu (the two points underlined in red on the screen shot).

With the real estate layer turned on available houses and apartments will be tagged on the map and details of each property will be displayed in the left-hand side bar. When you click on a tag an information window opens displaying the price and image of the property. Clicking on the expand button or the 'more info' link will expand the information window and give you more details of the property.

The very first Google Maps mashup was created by Paul Rademacher. His mashup HousingMaps showed Craigslist housing listings on a Google Map. His hack of Google Maps inspired Google to open up Google Maps via the Google Maps API. Paul Rademacher now works for Google so he could well have been the inspiration for this new layer.

In other news Google have announced the latest image update for Google Earth. As always Google has announced the locations that are affected in the form of a quiz. Readers of the Google Earth Blog are normally amongst the first to find the right answers. Updates to Google Earth are usually added to Google Maps a week or two later.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wikipedia Added to Google Maps

Update: Google has now made the shockingly bad move of removing the Wikipedia layer from Google Maps. However there are still some third party maps that can help you find Wikipedia information on a Google Map. I've linked to some of the more useful maps in this Google Kills Wikipedia post.

In what is proving to be another busy day for Google, Wikipedia articles have been added to Google Maps. The new Wikipedia tags can be turned on via a 'More' button that has been added to the top right hand corner of the map.

When the Wikipedia tick box is selected small 'W' tags appear on the map where Wikipedia articles are available. Clicking on the 'W' tag will open an information window containing the Wikipedia article.

Panoramio photos can also be turned on via the same 'More' button. The photos option however feels a little superfluous considering Panoramio photos were added last week and can also be turned on in the left-hand panel. Intriguingly the photos turned on by the 'More' button contain a Panoramio logo whilst the ones accessed by the left-hand side panel don't, even though both sets of photos are served by Panoramio.


Google Street View Image Update

Google this morning announced their first image update for Street View. The area affected is Manhattan, which now has more recent and sharper imagery.

The Google LatLong blog says that Google have also used this opportunity to introduce new face-blurring technology. In recent weeks the Google Street View cars have been spotted all over Europe and Australia. Many European countries have different privacy laws than the United States, for example, in France I believe it is illegal to publish someone's image without their permission. This new face blurring technology is obviously Google's response to these privacy concerns.

Update: Andrew Foster on The Official Google Australia Blog says that Google are "aiming to launch the Street View feature for Google Maps in Australia, later in 2008." Foster goes on to say that "In Australia (and New Zealand), Street View will also feature face-blurring, as well as image removal tools." So I guess New Zealand is going to get Street View this year as well.

Via: Google LatLong: Street View revisits Manhattan


Tagging Art on Google Maps


We have Google Maps mash-ups that geo-tag photos, videos and web-cams so why not one that tags oil paintings? That's what a collective of Spanish artists thought - so they built Paintmap.

This is their mission statement:

"Paintmap is a geolocation-oriented painting sharing website with the following goals: on one hand, it allows painters all around the World to locate physically the subject painted by others and learn about the artistic activity at a given area. On the other hand, Paintmap allows Google Maps users to complement the physical and photographic knowledge of a given area with the artistic descriptions provided by users. Last but not least, Paintmap will contribute to the capture of our nature and human heritage through the artistic work of users as a record for future generations."

In essence Paintmap allows any artist to showcase their work on a Google Map and provides the rest of us with another, aesthetically pleasing way, to explore the world via Google Maps.


Another Google Map trying to geo-tag the visual arts is StreetArtLocator. StreetArtLocator is a user contributed map of street art.

The user contributed examples are colour coded on the map under a number of different categories;
graffiti, gallery, painting, stickers, stencil, sculpture and installation.

When you click on a tag an information window opens with a photo of the tagged art work.

For helping me discover where this Banksy (on the right) is located this map will remain one of my favourites for a very long time.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Google Maps and Rumsey Historical Maps

David Rumsey's amazing collection of historical maps has been available as a layer on Google Earth since 2006. Now they are available on Google Maps!

The David Rumsey Google Map Collection contains an amazing 120 historical maps overlaid on Google Maps. For, example, the screen shot above shows an 1832 map of London overlaid on the current Google Map of London (it also reveals that my house in east London was been built on top of a marsh). Each map's transparency can be adjusted with a slider button, so it is possible to find a location on the present Google Map before overlaying the historical map.

Highlights of the new maps include the first accurate survey of Yosemite Valley, California, from 1883, maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Washington DC, Denver, Chicago, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Calcutta, Lima, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Beijing, Tokyo, Kyoto, and more – all from times ranging from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

Via: Google LatLong: New Rumsey Historical Maps and new ways to view them


Video Sharing on Google Maps


myTAGeo takes videos and web cams from multiple video sharing sites and adds them to a Google Map. Users can create their own map of their own videos or add videos from any of the major video sharing sites. The address of the map can then be shared with friends and family or the map can be embedded into a web page or blog.

When videos are tagged they also appear in the World Map, a map of all the submitted videos.

As well as tagging videos to a Google Map it is possible to create a map of web cams. This Wave Map, for example, is a map of surf cams in California.

Other Video Maps

Seero - live video tracking on a Google Map (see example below)
Virtual Tourism - my own video mapping site
TURNHERE - a travel and video site
Virtual Video Map - a Google Map of videos from around the world
Venividiwiki - a travel site that includes a number of videos

Seero are broadcasting live this week from Where 2.0 in California. For the occasion they have created this embeddable player.

Via: Ogle Earth


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Twitter on Google Maps

Twitter Spy

Twitter Spy is a new rival to TwitterVision. Twitter Spy, like Twitter Vision, is a Google Map showing in real-time the latest messages on Twitter.

However, whereas as TwitterVision displays real-time messages on a full-screen Google Map, Twitter Spy uses a smaller map and utilises the remaining screen space to display the latest tweets outside of the map (check the screenshot above).

The avatar of each member's message is tagged on the map and the map recentres on the location of each member when a new message is posted. Twitter Spy also catches any URL's posted by users and the latest ones are posted in a sidebar.

Other Twitter Maps
  • TwitterVision
  • - the original real-time map of tweets
  • Create Your Own Twitter Map - a great article on how to create your own Twitter Map by Tony Hirst
  • Twitters - a Twitter map which shows the plotted Twitter members in a sidebar beside the map

Friday, May 09, 2008

Google Maps Mashup Roundup for the Netherlands

Amsterdam Helicopter Game

I love this helicopter game!

In the game you get to fly a helicopter around Amsterdam visiting various bars and restaurants - and who wouldn't want to do that?

The address of the bar you have to find is displayed on the screen and its location is shown by a little red dot on the map. When you find the bar another bar or restaurant address appears. If you can't find a bar or restaurant you can use one of your three wild-cards and move onto the next bar. What's more you can add any of the bars and restaurants to your list of favourites.

Absolutely awesome! But remember kids don't try this for real.

Nomadic Milk Shopping

If flying a helicopter is not your kind of thing perhaps you would enjoy a more leisurely journey by milk cart.

Nomadic Milk Shopping is a 'GPS docu-fiction' by Esther Polak. The central theme of this 'docu-fiction' is the Opzeeland Dairy Route by night. Essentially Esther seems to have followed a mail cart on its night route and filmed the experience.

The route of the milk cart has been synchronised to the video so as you watch Esther's docu-fiction you can follow the current location of the film on a Google Map.

Kunst op de Kaart

Kunst op de Kaart is a Google Map showing over 2000 Museums and Art Galleries in the Netherlands. The museums are tagged on a Google Map and details of each museum is given in a handy sidebar. When you click on a museum in the sidebar its location is highlighted on the map. If you click on a tag an information window opens containing a link to the website of that museum.


Heebuv is a concept for including location specific chat on Google Maps. Currently the site is only a demonstration of how the concept might work. Active discussions are tagged on a Google Map. Clicking on a tag opens the chat feature, where you can read the discussion so far and add your own comments.

At the moment the site doesn't include the ability to start your own chat, but the idea is that users will be able to click anywhere on the map to start their own discussion.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

New - 'Explore this Area' Feature in Google Maps

Explore this Area

Google Maps has added a great new option in Google Maps to explore an area through photographs and YouTube videos. Now when you do a location search in Google Maps you are given the option to 'Explore this Area'. When you choose this option photos from Panoramio and videos from YouTube can be loaded onto the map.

As has become Google's custom this new feature is introduced with a video -


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008



GeoGraffiti describes itself as a "free verbal message board for exchanging location-specific community information." In essence it is a location based social community built on Google Maps - but with a big difference - users geographically tag a Google Map with voice messages from their cell phones.

The video below has a good example of one possible use of GeoGraffiti. Suppose you are on your way to work and you hit traffic, how do you warn other drivers? Well with GeoGraffiti you can use your cell phone to leave a voice message on a Google Map informing other users of the problem.

The big advantage of GeoGraffiti over other social community Google Maps mash-ups is exactly this kind of situation. When a user does not have access to a computer keyboard they can still geographical tag a Google Map with a voice message. This video gives other examples of how GeoGraffiti could prove invaluable to its users:

GeoGraffiti certainly has the features to make it a useful social sharing site. Users can define the geographical area they are interested in, they can become fans of users whose messages they like, they can refine their search of voice messages by 'most popular' or 'most recent'.

As with all social community sites GeoGraffiti is dependent on users. If the site garners a number of enthusiastic early users this site could really take off.


Google Maps in Webby Award Winners

The Webby Awards for 2008 were announced today. Four of the winners use Google Maps:
  • Chow- the People's Voice Winner in the Food and Beverage section
  • Yelp - the Webby Award Winner in the Guides / Ratings / Reviews section
  • Trulia - the People's Voice Winner in the Real Estate section
  • Kayak - the People's Voice Winner in the Travel section


Chow is a great website for anyone who loves food. The site is full of recipes, food discussion boards, videos and restaurant and bar guides.

The restaurant and bar guides are of course driven by Google Maps. Each geographical area covered gets its own Google Map. The location of bars and restaurants are tagged on the map like many other review sites. However what sets Chow apart is that you can narrow the tagged search results by nearly a hundred different categories of food, from Afghan to Vietnamese. I know when I'm searching for a restaurant I tend to be concerned first with the location and then with the type of food I would like. It is therefore invaluable to be able to quickly see, for example, all the sushi restaurants in the Bay Area.


By coincidence Yelp also tags restaurants on Google Maps. Similarly the restaurants on Yelp can be searched by location and the search results narrowed by a huge number of different categories. Yelp's big selling point is the huge number of user submitted reviews that are available for most of the listed restaurants.

Yelp was first reviewed on Google Maps Mania way back in November 2005.


Trulia is a real estate website that uses Google Maps to show the location of available properties. The search results can be narrowed by location and by price.

Trulia also recently added a street view option (where available). Which means you can now virtually explore an area you are interested in before visiting for real.

Trulia was originally reviewed in October 2005.


Kayak is a travel search engine that searches hundreds of travel sites from all over the world for flights, hotels and rental cars. The hotel section of the site utilises Google Maps to show the results of hotel searches.

Clicking on a tagged hotel on the map opens an information window revealing the cost per night and the hotel's star rating.

Kayak is also used in a website we reviewed on Monday called MapifiedKayak.

Congratulations to all four winners!