Today Google officially launched Google Maps in South Africa: http://maps.google.co.za/
Whilst Google Maps has been available in South Africa before, it now has now been enhanced with driving directions and a webcams layer. Businesses can now also add themselves to the map for free at Google's Local Business Centre, http://www.google.com/lbc.
The Street View cars are also busy in South Africa capturing imagery for the launch of Street View in South Africa, probably sometime before next year's World Cup.
South African Related Google Maps Mashups
Virtual Africa is a website with some amazing 360 degree panoramas of Africa. The site includes a number of Google Maps of regions of South Africa each containing a collection of interactive panoramic images.
Clicking on any of the map markers opens an information window with an embedded panorama. The panoramas automatically scrolls through 360 degrees or you can use your mouse to interact with the image.
The areas of South Africa covered include Cape Town, a number of national parks and Robben Island. The site also has a dedicated Google Map for World Heritage sites in South Africa.
Izimvo have used the Google MyMaps feature to create a map that they have embedded on their website. The map shows the locations of recent South Africans that they have interviewed.
Clicking on a map marker reveals a thumbnail portrait of the interviewee and a link ot the interview.
DotHomes is a vertical search engine of realtor listings in the US, UK and South Africa. It is possible to search for properties by price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms and location.
The details of each property comes with a Google Map to display the property's location.
Standard Bank Google Map
Standard Bank is a leading African banking group that focuses on emerging markets. The bank is using Google Maps to highlight the organisation's operations and publicise it's deals around the world.
The map's markers are colour coded by 'operations, 'deals', 'accolades' and 'news'. The category of map marker currently shown on the map can be further refined by using the drop down menus at the top of the map. Featured deals are also shown in the map sidebar. Clicking on any of the sidebar links will centre the map on that featured deal and open an information window with further information.
Tour operator Expert Africa have a large number of Google Maps mashups for the countries, areas, safari camps and lodges in Africa that they send their customers to.
The maps allow customers to view close up satellite images of the camps and lodges and view details of nearby towns. The map markers for each of the camps and lodges include pictures and a brief description of the camp. Each marker also contains a link to a detailed description of the camp or lodge.
African Tourism Portal
The African Tourism Portal is an interactive African tourist guide which features rich media content including videos, photographs and tourism podcasts. The site currently covers countries in the southern half of the continent.
The African Tourism Portal allows the user to select categories of map marker to view for each country in the guide. It is possible to select categories of map marker from 'attractions', 'restaurants' and 'accommodation'. Within each of these categories it is then possible to select from a number of subcategories.
Clicking on any of the star shaped 'destination' map markers opens an information window which contains rich media content about that location. The rich media content includes podcast descriptions of the destination's attractions and/or tourist guide videos and photographs of the location from Flickr.
This Google Map mashup contains an amazing amount of data about the African continent. AfricaMap has been developed by the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University to make spatial data on Africa easier for researchers to discover and explore.
The incredible amount of data on this map is organised into three main categories: View, Map Layers and Places. The three categories can be accessed via tabs at the top of the map.
The View tab is the one to select to view the map and to select from the different map types. The Map Layers tab is the main tab for selecting what data you wish to see presented on the map. The data is then sub-categorised into Base Mapping, Economic, Environmental, Ethno Linguistic, Ethno Classification, Harvard Collections, Historic Maps 1800 to 1950, Historic Maps 1800 to 1950, Local Projects, Period Maps, Place Names & Political and Population.
The Places tab allows users to access Place Name information across the continent by category. The database contains hundreds of Place Types for Africa (i.e. administrative divisions, populated places, farms, streams, etc.).