Friday, October 27, 2006

Google Maps find: Large face found on hilltop in Canada

The latest Google Maps satellite image discovery this week comes to us from my home country of Canada. Google geo-spotters have come across what resembles the side profile of a face etched into the top of a flat rock formation, in the hills of Alberta just east of Medicine Hat. Like many of the  interesting Google Maps sights that have popped and have been discussed from around the blogosphere, this hill-face has also been featured on Digg (link dead).

Is that an iPod he's listening to?

In fine fashion Sydney Morning Herald journalist Stephen Hutcheon has added some humor to the find by pointing out that it looks like this guy is listening to an iPod. His story in The Herald's Tech section titled "This iPod user rocks" points this out. In reality, this is a road that leads to the area that would be his ear on the profile and the image makes it looks like he's listening to an iPod. Stephen also created a cool little vid that he uploaded to YouTube that uses Google Earth to show you where this face is located. I'm embedding it in the post here:

(If the video doesn't appear below click here..)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

TripAdvisor + Google Maps = The best hotels on the map!


The good folks at TripAdvisor stopped by to let me know about how they're mashing up millions of hotel reviews to show the most popular hotels in any given area on Google Maps. For an example check out New York City. The cool part about this site as a travel mashup is that it isn't just plotting the location of hotels like many other travel mashups do, but rather plotting the most popular, as chosen by millions, upon millions of reviews on the site. When you're looking at the map, you're only looking at the best. You'll find links to these new Google Maps throughout the site on each of:
  • Hotel overview pages for 32,000 featured U.S. cities and towns
  • 17,000+ Pages covering U.S. attractions
  • 135,000+ Pages covering U.S. restaurants
The map interface has been customized to match the look and feel of TripAdvisor by modifying the map controls to give them a softer, seamless look. Each map pin features a tab where you can link off to book at that hotel as well as candid traveler photos and other info about each hotel. TripAdvisor lets you research before you make your reservation. Keep in mind when you shift the map around you need to hit the reload button to re-display the locations. If the map could "auto-magically" know you have shifted the map and display locations for that current map view, it would be a great future site usability improvement.

Be sure to add this one to your list of Travel Google Maps Mashups!