Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Google Maps of the Week

This week I was really impressed by the idea behind Dynamische Verbindunge, a crowdsourced Google Map assessing the bicycle friendliness of Berlin's streets. The map developed by BMW Guggenheim Lab will hopefully be used to help build Berlin's future bicycle network.



The map allows Berliners to rate Berlin's roads for their bicycle friendliness and to view a crowdsourced assessment of Berlin's streets. It is possible to view all the streets that are thought to be bicycle friendly, all those that are deemed to be bicycle unfriendly, where 'safe crossings' are located, 'streets where the action is', and 'happy' and 'stressed streets'.


PeakFinder allows users to generate a 360° panoramic sketch naming all the visible peaks and hills in view from any location. PeakFinder isn't the first horizon plan creator we've featured on Google Maps Mania but it still doesn't fail to impress.



To create a panorama users just need to select the required location using a Google Map. After the location is selected PeakFinder creates a a 360° panoramic sketch of the view from that location. Users can zoom in and pan the panorama.


Finally, Weavrs is an interesting new website that allows you to set up fictional alter egos (Weavrs) that you can set lose to live a virtual life. Once you have created your fictional alter egos you can then follow them on social media and Google Maps.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Two Years of Global Cloud Cover Animated


Cloud Globe is a very impressive Google Chrome experiment, that animates over two years of cloud data on top of a globe.

The animated cloud imagery was compiled from hourly snapshots of the cloud layer on Google Maps. It is possible to use the timeline beneath the globe to fast-forward or replay a part of the animation. It is also possible to select 'Storms' to enable the naming of major storms on the globe, 'Vegetation' to view an attractive vegetation layer and 'Currents' to view the major sea currents in the world.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Near Real-time Surfing Media


SwellPhone is an interesting attempt to use photos submitted to Instagram, videos on YouTube and Google Maps to provide real-time updates at surfing locations around the world.

The application aggregates photographs and videos taken around surf spots worldwide. Users can select a country, region and beach from drop-down menus and then view the location on a Google Map and see recently submitted photos and videos.

Each of the videos and photos include a time heading saying how long ago they were submitted to Instagram or YouTube. If users are lucky enough to find media submitted in the last few hours they effectively have access to an almost real-time  report on the current surf conditions.

Google Release Updates, Apple an Apology


Leaning Tower of Pisa

Google has updated its satellite imagery in areas of 112 countries and added new 45° imagery in 51 countries around the world.

The cities with new 45° aerial imagery include Pisa in Italy,   Lyon and Dijon in France, and Detroit and Michigan City in the US.

Apple, on the other hand, has released an apology for the introduction of Apple Maps.

You can view a full-list of the new satellite and 45° imagery on the Google Lat Long blog.

Some Google Maps Friday Fun


This video is one of Google's more subtle (and fun) attempts to remind iOS6 users what they are missing in Apple Maps. Yes, transit directions are very useful.


Has the Street View cameraman stumbled upon a murder scene or is this just an advertising agency's clever attempt to get more people to view them on Google Maps?

Via: Street View Funny

GPS Shoes

British designer Dominic Wilcox has created a pair of shows that can guide you home, using LED lights that light up to show you the correct distance to your destination and how far you have to travel.

Via: Maps and the City

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Street View Safari


Google Maps has managed to capture many great pictures of animals around the world with its Street View cameras.

This Street View Safari application is a slide-show that animates through many of the interesting wildlife that can be found in Street View. In putting together the app I raided the Street View collections of Google Earth Hacks and Street View Funny.

The Literary Landscape on Google Maps


The British Library's recently held a 'Writing Britain' exhibition exploring how the landscapes of Britain have influenced great literary works. To complement and accompany the physical exhibition the British Library also created a crowdsourced project, Pin-a-Tale, to enable the public to contribute locations that have influenced literary works.

Users can search the map by location to discover locations nearby that have featured or influenced works of literature. You can also search the map by author. So, for example, if you are a fan of Dickens you can search the map to find locations that have featured in the author's work.

If you select a map marker you can read a short summary of how the location inspired the relevant writer. If you then click on the 'Find out more' link, in many cases, you are even taken to an online edition of the featured poem or prose.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Global Warming on Google Maps


Each week NASA's State of Flux website features images of different locations, showing the effects of climate change, urbanization, or natural hazards such as fires and floods.

If you select the 'map view' option you can view a Google Map of all the locations so far covered. If you then select a marker on the map you can view two images of the location that have been taken at different times.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can also find a number of links to browse the images by different categories, such as 'extreme events', 'human impacts' and 'top picks'.

Underwater Street View


You can now dive into the oceans on Google Maps with the release of underwater Street View images in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii. The best way to explore this new Street View imagery is in the special 'Ocean' section of the Street View Gallery.

Google Lat Long has posted a number of links to some of their favourite images in the new underwater Street View. These include a sea turtle (pictured) swimming among a school of fish, a manta ray and a reef at sunset.

Get Google Transit on iOS6

One of the major complaints of the newly released Apple Maps is that it doesn't have transit directions.

I don't have an Apple smartphone so I'm not sure how well this solution works but Simon Maddox has created an app that provides Google Maps transit directions for those Apple users who have updated to iOS6.

Apple users can use the app to request transit directions and then Google Maps will open in Safari on their phone with the appropriate directions. The code for the app is available here on GitHub.

Obviously this doesn't work as well as having a map service that actually provides built in transit directions but it seems a much better solution than Apple's recommendation that users download lots of different transit apps for eveywhere that they need to use public transit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Street View for Croatia, Andorra & Chile


Diocletian's Palace

The Google Earth Blog and Google Sightseeing have noticed that Google have added Street View imagery in three new countries on Google Maps.

Croatia seems to have pretty comprehensive coverage, whilst Andorra and Chile seem to have coverage in the main towns and cities.


Pula Arena

Follow Your Alter Ego on Google Maps


Weavrs is a pretty amazing new website that allows you to set up fictional alter egos (Weavrs) that you can set lose to live a virtual life. Once you have created your fictional alter egos you can then follow them on social media and Google Maps.

When you create a Weavr you define their interests, emotions and use Google Maps to show where they live, work and like to play. If you connect a Weaver with Twitter you can follow what they get up to via their Tweets. You can also view a Google Map of your Weavr's travels and even view a heat map showing the places that they visit the most.

Map Your Day with Google Maps

The Mozilla Developer Network is featuring a Google Map tracking application called Map My Day.

The application uses geolocation, localstorage and html canvas to let you track and visualize how long you spend time at specific places. Using the app you can check-in anywhere in the world and the application keeps a track of your check-ins.

When you check-in the app automatically starts tracking your time at the location. The time at your current position will be tracked until you hit "Check Out". By default an entry of your current position with 10 seconds time will be added after initialization.

Via: Street View Funny

Google Maps Go to War


Conflict History is a timeline and Google Map of all the world's conflicts. The timeline starts with the Kurukshetra War of 3000 BC and maps all the world's conflicts to the present day.

A sliding timeline runs along the bottom of the map. To load the conflicts for any period the user just needs to scroll the sidebar to the relevant date. The conflicts for that period are then shown on the Google Map with red circular map markers and also listed in the map sidebar.


The Washington Post Civil War Map shows all the battles and casualties of the American Civil War. The map features an animated time-line that allows you to watch the war unfold over time. You can pause the animation at any time and you can also refine the view to show any period of time.

If you roll over the circular markers you can view the date and the casualties of the mapped battle. If you click on a marker you can read a more detailed account of the battle.


The Stanford Visualisation Group's 'Protovis' is an open source graphical tool for visualising data. The Protovis website includes a couple of examples of the tool using Google Maps, including this map of
Minard's Flow Map of Napolean's Russian Campaign.

Charkes Minard was a pioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics. Probably his most famous creation was this flow map showing Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812. His map displays:
  • the army's location and direction, showing where units split off and rejoined
  • the declining size of the army
  • the freezing temperatures during the retreat
The Protovis map of Minard's visualisation of the Russian Campaign adds interactivity using the Google Maps API.


Timeline Projects has created three interactive mapped timelines. The three timelines cover World Wars I & II and the American Civil War.

All three maps use the open source Simile Timeline. The site includes Wiki style editing of the maps so that users can  add conflict events to any of the maps.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tell Me What I'm Looking At


PeakFinder allows users to generate a 360° panoramic sketch naming all the visible peaks and hills in view from any location.

To create a panorama users just need to select the required location using a Google Map. After the location is selected PeakFinder creates a a 360° panoramic sketch of the view from that location. Users can zoom in and pan the panorama.


HeyWhatsThat also uses Google Maps to create panoramic sketches showing names of visible peaks. HeyWhatsThat allows the user to click on highlighted peaks to view the name and see the peak's location on a Google Map. The map also displays the distance and the direction to the peak.


Generate a Panorama lets you click on a Google Map and create a bird's eye representation of the view from that location.

To generate your own view you just need to click on a location on the map. You can then drag a polyline to choose the direction you wish to view and you can also adjust the span of the view.

Street View Ghosts Haunt the Streets


Artist Paolo Cirio has been busy searching Google Maps for interesting images of people caught on Street View. He then creates full-size posters of the people he finds and sticks the posters up in the exact same location where the images were taken by the Street View car.

The website for the project, Street Ghosts includes street photographs of all the posters in situ and a Google Map of all the locations. Using the map you can check out the original Street View images where the poster 'ghosts' were first caught for posterity and where they now remain in poster form.

Crowsourcing Berlin's Bicycle Network


Dynamische Verbindunge is a crowdsourced Google Map assessing the bicycle friendliness of Berlin's streets.

The map, created by the BMW Guggenheim Lab, allows the user to view the crowdsourced assessment of Berlin's streets. It is possible to view all the streets that are thought to be bicycle friendly and all those that are deemed to be bicycle unfriendly. It is also possible to view 'safe crossings', 'streets where the action is', and 'happy' and 'stressed streets'.

Users can add their own assessments to the map by answering five questions about individual streets. The BMW Guggenheim Lab hope that the map will help in building Berlin's future bicycle network.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Google Maps of the Week


This week xkcd released 'Click and Drag', a cartoon strip which included one frame (the last big one) which was interactive in the style of on-line slippy maps. The reader of the strip can click and drag the image around to discover a very huge world lies beneath the limited frame of this comic strip.

A number of developers had the idea to use Maps API's to interact with this large image.  Including this Google Maps API version of: xkcd 1110.

 
Worldcam is a handy application that helps you find Instagram submitted photographs around any location.

Finding photos with Worlcam involves a simple two stage search. First you enter a town or city name and then you enter a venue. Worldcam uses the Foursquare API to find venues, so it therefore has pretty extensive coverage around the world.


The Berlin Start-up Map is a Google Map of start-ups in Berlin.

The initial map view shows the 30 newest startups, upcoming events and news about launches. It is possible to change the view to show all the mapped start-ups, upcoming tech events, news and job vacancies.

Users of the map can submit their own start-up, event, news or job vacancies by completing a short form.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Outlook is Sunny on Google Maps


This week ProgrammableWeb's Best New Mashups post looks at weather mashups, two of which use the Google Maps API.

WeatherObs is a Google Map of global METAR weather observation. METAR is a format for reporting weather information that is predominantly used by pilots in compiling pre-flight weather briefings.The app also lets users view TAF (terminal aerodrome forecast) reports for a number of airports.

Using the map it is possible to view a range of weather information around the world, including temperature, wind speed and direction, visibility and lowest cloud layers.


The Interactive Marine Map uses the Google Maps API as an interface to view marine weather data from dozens of US and international sites.

The map allows the user to view NOAA/NWS forecasts & charts, radar, satellite images, tides, Wunderground, WindFinder, GRIB file generator & weather charts from WeatherOnline, GMDSS, Australia, Fiji, Germany, Singapore, Tahiti & the UK Met office.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where to Find Your Canadian Spouse


Global News continues its detailed analysis of the 2011 Canadian Census.

An article, Single in the City, looks at the number of unmarried people in different neighbourhoods in Canadian cities.The accompanying Google Map allows the user to enter an address or postcode and select the age and gender of the unmarried population. The map then zooms to your entered location and displays a heat map based on the 2011 census.

If you want to take a more detailed look at the census returns in your neighbourhood then head straight to the Global News 2011 Census Maps. Here you can search a Google Map for the number of unmarried individuals but also select from a large number of other demographic data.

Beneath the Oceans, Amongst the Stars


The use of Google Maps is probably the least interesting aspect of this application but I love it anyway. Seafloor Explorer is a crowd-sourced effort to identify species and ground cover in images of the seafloor.

The application presents an image of the seafloor and asks the user to identify the ground cover and any species that are present in the image. The crowd-sourced results will then help create a library of seafloor life in the habitats along the northeast continental shelf.

When the user has finished classifying the species in the image a still satellite image from Google Maps / Google Earth is displayed showing the location of the section of sea floor that has just been classified.



If this crowd-sourced based approach to classifying images strikes you as being rather familiar then you might not be surprised to learn that it is from the same team behind Galaxy Zoo.

Galaxy Zoo wants your help in classifying galaxies from images taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Personalised Walking Routes on Google Maps


TouristPath is a handy Google Maps based app for finding nearby points of interest, restaurants and hotels and for generating customised walking routes.

If you enter a location into TouristPath the map will centre on the location and add nearby points of interest. The markers displayed on the map can be refined by category (nature, historical, World Heritage sites, places of worship, hotels and restaurants) and by a number of subcategories.

If you click on the 'Days' option TouristPath will also display a suggested walking route taking in many of the most interesting points of interest. So, for example, if you are only interested in visiting museums and cathedrals you can select those options and generate a walk that takes in interesting museums and cathedrals.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to Use Apple Maps - Updated


How to use Apple Maps
  1. Pull up the page fold on the bottom right of the map
  2. Select 'Report a Problem'
Alternatively you can report your problems to The Amazing iOS 6 Maps Tumblr site.

I actually heard a funny variation on this in the pub this evening, that went.

How do you use Apple Maps?
  1. Pull over
  2. Wind down the window
  3. Ask for directions

Time to Forage with Google Maps


Mundraub is a German application for sharing the location of fruit trees and other edible plants on common land.

At the heart of Mundraub is a Google Map showing where you can find wild edible fruits and plants. The markers are categorised by type of fruit, berry, nut or herb. There are 29 specific markers for different edible plants or fruits and users can select to view any of the specific fruit's marker on the map. So if you want to find the locations of only apple trees you can select it's marker (beneath the map) and then select 'Show only apfel'.

It is also possible to show the locations of nearby cafes, gardens, cideries and hotels on the map.


Concrete Jungle - Food Map is a similar map showing the locations of edible plants and fruits in the Atlanta area.

Concrete Jungle use the map to help pick fruits, nuts, and vegetables throughout Atlanta and the surrounding areas and donate as much of the harvest as possible to organizations serving Atlanta’s poor and hungry.

Also See

  • Grow Local- A Google Map that lists public foraging plants which also caters for swapping and trading produce locally.
  • Forage.rs is a collaborative map of edible and useful wild plants worldwide. Plants added to the map are linked to information about how they can be used, including photographs, stories, and recipes added by users. 
  • Neighborhoodfruit is a crowdsourced map of fruit trees on public land in the U.S.. It is possible to search the map by zipcode. 
  • Urban Edibles - This crowdsourced map can help you find wild food sources in Portland, Oregon.
    Boise’s Urban Foods Map - If you live in Boise then consult this Google Map to find your nearest foraging locations.
    Urban Edibles - a collaborative map of wild edible plants and fruits in Amsterdam. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Click & Drag - It's a Big World - Updated


Today's xkcd strip is pretty amazing. The strip, 'Click and Drag', includes one frame (the last big one) which is interactive in the style of on-line slippy maps. If you click and drag the strip around you will discover a very huge world lies beneath the limited frame of this comic strip.

The only thing missing from the image to make it an online map is zoom controls. This means that it isn't possible to zoom out on the strip and zoom in quickly on a different area of the image.

I obviously wasn't the only person to think it would be a great idea to create an actual map from the last frame of the xkcd strip. Earlier today I came across xkcd Map, a quick hack that lets you view the whole image with the Google Maps API. Being just a quick hack the developer didn't create map tiles for the image so unfortunately you can't zoom in and appreciate the finer details (such as the speech bubbles).

Update - this Google Maps API version of xkcd Click & Drag works brilliantly - xkcd 1110.


This xkcd 1110 map uses ESRI maps and works a little better.You can actually zoom in anywhere in the image and appreciate fully the true genius of Randall Munroe. However the best map is this Leaflet powered map, xkcd Map-Rent-a-Geek.

Who's Protesting Where


The Daily Beast has created a Google Map to try and keep track of the recent protests around the world sparked by the release of an anti-Muslim video .

Who's Protesting Where provides a guide to recent protests in the Middle East and Asia. A number of hot-spots are displayed on the map with circular map markers. If you mouse-over a marker an information window opens with more details about the protests held at this location.

Finding Photos Around a Location


Worldcam is a handy application that helps you find Instagram submitted photographs around any location.

Finding photos with Worlcam involves a simple two stage search. First you enter a town or city name and then you enter a venue. Worldcam uses the Foursquare API to find venues, so it therefore has pretty extensive coverage around the world.

After you have entered your two search criteria Worldcam displays a small Google Map showing the location of the venue and displays the latest submitted Instagram photographs from that venue. Worldcam also displays a list of trending locations for the town or city that you searched for.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dutch Census Data on Google Maps


NRC Handelsblad is a Google Map of demographic data about the Netherlands. The map allows the user to view various categories of demographic data down to street level throughout the country.

The map provides a number of heat-map overlays that can be viewed on top of the map to visualise demographic data in a number of categories. The data that can be visualised includes the number of immigrants, over 65's, children under 14 years, households with children and the ratio of males / females.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Data Distribution with Google Maps


Geoscience Australia is using Google Maps with Google Fusion Tables to provide a gateway to commercially purchased satellite imagery.

The imagery can be searched by location, attribute and time range. It is possible to preview the satellite imagery by clicking on a map marker and selecting the 'quick look' option. The map is updated monthly.

All Things Spatial has written an interesting article, 'Competitive Advantage with Free GIS Tools', examining the advantages of using 'fit for purpose' GIS tools in general and specifically Geoscience Australia's use of Google Maps and Fusion Tables for this map.

Start-Up Berlin on Google Maps


The Berlin Start-up Map is a Google Map of start-ups in Berlin.

The initial map view shows the 30 newest startups, upcoming events and news about launches. It is possible to change the view to show all the mapped start-ups, upcoming tech events, news and job vacancies.

Users of the map can submit their own start-up, event, news or job vacancies by completing a short form.

Also See

Made in NY - a Google Map of New York's digital industry
Tech City Map - a map of the technology companies and start-ups in east London
RepresentMap - an open source project to help start-up communities create their own map

Finding Nearby Events with Google Maps


Concert Mapper is a new Google Maps based application to find and book tickets for concerts, theatre or sporting events.

If you share your location with Concert Mapper the map will zoom in on your location and show you nearby venues. If you mouse-over a venue upcoming events will appear at the top of the map and a YouTube video of the artist currently appearing will load in the map sidebar.

It is possible to search the map by location or search for a specific performer, artist or event. Currently Concert Mapper has listings for over 6,000 venues and around 40,000 events. If you find an event that you wish to attend you can click through on the map and book tickets via SeatGeek.

Location, Location, Location on Google Maps


Zumper is a new apartment finding application for New York and San Francisco that uses the Google Maps API to show the location of property available to rent.

Zumper is launching into what is already a very crowded market, where there are already a number of well established and well known players. The application follows a well established format by allowing users to search for properties by price and by number of bedrooms.

However Zumper also acknowledges that one of the major criteria people use when searching for apartments is location. For many apartment hunters one of the most important factors in an apartment search is the neighborhood and district where they wish to live.

Zumper therefore allows the user to search by neighborhood. As the user interacts with the Zumper Google Map neighborhoods are highlighted on the map. As you mouse-over the map the neighborhoods are highlighted  and a small information window appears telling you which district you are selecting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Google Maps of the Week

 
To advertise the release of the new computer game 'Transformers - Fall of Cybertron' Hasbro has released a clever Street View application that allows you to create a short movie featuring Transformers fighting on your own street.

These animated movies overlaid on top of Google Maps Street View have become quite popular in the last year. However it is still cool to see all the action taking place on your own street, with your home in the background.

Transformers On Your Street allows you to enter any address and then watch a short animation of a spacecraft landing on your street using Google Maps satellite view. After the craft lands the Transformers appear, with the Street View of the address you entered as the backdrop.


Reclame Erfgoed is a Belgium website that is using Google Maps and Street View to locate and document vintage hand painted wall advertisements. I like the idea of trying to document and locate these vintage adverts and I love the way the design of the site positions the Street View image on the side of a house just like one of the original adverts.

The submitted Street View images include forward and back arrows so it is possible to quickly navigate to the next or previous submission. The site also includes a map and a location search box so you can  find submissions by location. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Born in the USA on Google Maps


The Springsteen Heatmap is an animated heatmap of Bruce Springsteen's U.S. concerts over the last 40 years.

The map animates through the 40 years showing the amazing amount of touring that The Boss has undertaken over the decades. As the animation plays, the album covers for the records that Springsteen was promoting on each tour appears beneath the map.


UK band xx this week shared a stream of their new album  'Coexist' with one fan. They then worked with Microsoft to create a map of how that one fan shared the stream with his friends and those friends then shared the stream with their friends ... and so on.

The live map of how the stream of the album was shared across the world ran live for a few days. The stream and the live map have now finished but you can still view an animation of The xx Map, and observe how people listened to and shared the album worldwide.

We Know What You Did This Summer


The Google Maps team has released an interesting infographic that looks at what people in the northern hemisphere have been searching for on Google Maps this summer.

The infographic looks at both search queries and landmark searches made on Google Maps. For example, in the USA the various National Parks were popular landmark searches and 'paintball', 'campground' and 'beach' were the fastest rising search queries.

In other countries the summer sun also had a big influence on searches. In France and Spain and Italy swimming pools featured highly in Google Maps searches. Whilst in the UK the Olympic effect influenced Google Maps searches, with venues, such as the Olympic Stadium and Wembley Stadium being very popular.

Friday, September 14, 2012

African Elephant Populations on Google Maps


The Save the Elephants charity has created the Elephants in Peril website with the help of a Google Earth Outreach Development Grant.

The website includes two Google Maps to show the location of where elephants are being illegally killed in Africa and the current African elephant population density. The maps were created with the help of Fusion Tables and Google Maps Engine.

By creating and maintaining these two maps Elephants in Peril hope to bring together public data sets and to reveal the complete story of elephant populations over time and understand what trends can be seen.

Via: Google Lat Long