Friday, October 31, 2008

Christmas Present List

I know it is still October but I'm sending my Christmas present list out early this year. Top of my list is this house in the Netherlands:

The asking price is 295,000.00 Euros (375,720.44 dollars). I know this is a touch on the expensive side and that money is a little tight at the moment but if you all club together I'm sure you'll be able to afford it.

To buy me the house just go to Dutch real estate site Funda. Funda is a Netherlands real estate site that lists both commercial and residential properties. As you can see from my future home above, Funda lets users search and view properties via Google Maps.

Funda have also created this population heat map for the Netherlands. The heat map allows users to select a Dutch region and get a break down of the population and demographics of any region.

I've used the heat map and thoroughly researched the Netherlands. Therefore you can be assured that my choice of Christmas present this year has not been decided upon recklessly!


Spooky Google Maps

Halloween Mash-Up

Plan your Halloween with this great mash-up of Upcoming, Yahoo Local, Flickr and Google Maps. Select your location from a drop down menu and the map shows you Halloween parties and events in your area.

Map of the Dead

This zombie shooting game is one of Google's own creations. The game-play is very simple - you have one minute to shoot as many zombies as you can. Although I might be mistaken, the game seems to be taking place at the University of Southern California so those might be students and not zombies. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

ghostlogs map
If you are thinking of venturing out tonight, perhaps you should consult this map first. This colour-coded Google Map mash-up geo-tags apparitions, demons, ectoplasm and many other types of spooky beings.

Disturbia Suburbia
Disturbia Map
This Google Map was created for the film Disturbia. Enter your zip code and the map will tell you about all the disturbing freaks, loons and frightening nutcases in your neighbourhood.

The World's Creepiest Places

This is a Google Maps mash-up of the creepiest places in the world. Go on, I dare you to visit The Manchac Swamp, a.k.a. the "haunted swamp", where an imprisoned voodoo queen cast a curse on all those who visit. Mwaa ha ha ...


Apparently there are quite a few ghosts in Sao Paolo. Luckily Bogomaps has created this map of all the haunted houses in the Brazilian city.

Halloween Maps
This Google Map shows the locations of web surfers who have taken a look at the Halloween lights and inflatables outside a house in Boulder, Colorado via a Halloween webcam.

Pumpkin Patches

Halloween festivals, parties, haunted houses and pumpkin patches in Sacramento.

Thanks to Mapperz for help in compiling this frightening list of maps.

Spooky Street View
Google Sightseeing have produced a nice round-up of Halloween related Street Views. Lots and lots of pumpkins.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Argentinian Google Maps Round-Up (Oct 2008)

Dormir en Buenos Aires

Dormir en Buenos Aires is a Google Maps mash-up showing holiday accommodation in the Argentinian capital.

Currently 428 hotels and bed and breakfasts have been mapped. It is possible to search the accommodation options by type, neighbourhood or by the number of stars. It is also possible to search for accommodation in an area around a particular tourist attraction.

Dormir en Buenos Aires manages to get around Google's lack of map tiles for Argentina by using Virtual Earth's new map tiles for the country in conjunction with Google's map engine and satellite imagery.

Basta de Demoler

This Google My Map has been designed by an Argentinian NGO Basta de Demoler (stop the demolition). The map shows architectural heritage in danger in Buenos Aires.

Apparently there are only a few weak laws in Argentina designed to preserve the country's architectural heritage. Therefore Basta de Demoler have created this Google My Map to highlight important buildings in danger of demolition. The yellow markers indicate properties in danger of being demolished, the red and blue markers show those in imminent danger and those already demolished.

Other Argentinian Maps
Finally, for those of you desperate for Argentinian map tiles you might be interested in this Mapperz post: Argentina Live Maps


Win Free Shoes for a Year by Mapping

eS Footwear
esFootwear Map
eS Footwear have created this radical skateboarder map and they seriously want you to add skating locations to the map. To prove they are serious eS are going to give a pair of free shoes every month to the top two mappers for the next year.

From now until January 1st, 2009 éS the two users who upload the most new skating spots will get a free pair of shoes every month. The runner-up will get a package consisting of two pairs of éS shoes and free éS apparel!

Here are the rules:

• Only spots with photos or videos are eligible. (Your local drive way flat-bar does not count)
• Spots must contain a good description of location
• Contest ends January 1st '09 - that's two full months to get busy!
• All spots added since August 1st count!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Street View Comes to Italy

Street View has today been added to a number of Italian towns and to the area around Lake Como.

The new locations with Street View are Milan, Florence, Rome and Lake Como.

Here are some outstanding sights:

The Colosseum, The Vatican, The Trevi Fountain, Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, Pyramid of Cestius, Trajan's Forum

Michelangelo's David
Michelangelo's David, The Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Pitti

Castello Sforzesco, State University of Milan

Also Check Out These Street View Galleries


Montreal Gets Transit Planning

Google Maps has today added transit trip planning for Montreal. Google have worked with eighteen public transport providers to add planning for trains, the metro and buses in the city.

Via: Google LatLong: Getting around Montréal, past and present


Umapper Just Got Better

I'm a big fan of Umapper, which is a very easy to use map creation tool (read the original review here). My love affair with them just grew stronger with the announcement that you can now embed their map editor directly in any website.

Umapper has always had the option for users to embed maps into a website. For example, here is a map I've just created of Google Maps Mania readers:

On its own this is very cool, however now I can include the map editor in the page as well. Which makes this totally awesome.

Try it out. Use the map editor above to add yourself to the map. You should then appear on the map above (you may have to refresh the page).

If the editor seems a little truncated or things don't quite fit on the page it is because I had to shrink the Flash movie a little to fit in this column.

Come on - bring on the map spam!

On the subject of map spam. For this map I have chosen UMapper's Map Wiki setting, which allows anyone to edit the map. However it is actually possible to restrict editing privileges to specific users. Umapper are also working on the ability to save the revision history of a map, which should also help map owners reduce map spam.

Sites With Spanish Street View


Real estate website Idealista seems to be the first Spanish website to add Street View to their maps.

Real estate website fotocasa have also added the Street View layer to their Google Maps but don't seem to have added the peg man icon. Therefore it isn't yet possible to check the properties on their site using Google's panoramic images.

Idealistsa, however, have got a working demo together in their 'labs' section. Street View works very well in real estate sites, as it gives customers the opportunity to view the house and surrounding area virtually before viewing for real. As Idealista say you can use Street View to "move around (and) learn more about the area."

I'm sure more Spanish websites will soon follow Idealista's lead and add Street View to their Google Maps mash-ups.


Google Maps in the News

Deadline USA
The Guardian map Deadline USA map
Most newspaper only provide snippets of news articles in their RSS feeds. Therefore The Guardian newspaper received a lot of positive press last week for their decision to include complete news stories in their RSS feeds. What was not remarked on so much was their decision to also start geolocating articles.

Paul Carvill explains how The Guardian implements geolocation data in their on-line news articles and how that data can be used by readers in an article called gets maps.

The Guardian themselves have created a Google Maps mash-up of their coverage of the US Presedential Election called Deadline USA. The Guardian's reporters add latitude and longitude data when they file a story. The story then shows up on the Deadline USA map with the reporter's location marked.

Anyone can use The Guardian's RSS feeds to create Google Maps mash-ups of the paper's news stories. I expect The Gurdian will also be producing a lot more of their own Google Maps mash-ups.

Of course news doesn't have to be international to warrant geolocation, most people are just as interested in the news stories on their own doorsteps. geo-codes the stories from local newspapers in Oshawa, Ontario, east Toronto and presents them on a Google Map.

The map animates through the most recent stories. If you spot a headline that grabs your attention you can stop the animation and click on the link to take you through to the main article. The main articles also include smaller Google Maps to show the location of the story.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Data Scraping Wikipedia

Tony Hirst of the Ouseful.Info blog has written an excellent article explaining how you can use the importHTML function in Google Spreadsheets to retrieve data from any table in any website.

Tony uses the function to scrape data from Wikipedia tables and then uses Yahoo Pipes to geocode the data and create a Google Map mash-up (here is a Google Map showing UK city populations as scraped from Wikipedia).

I've been playing with the importHTML function for a few days now (since reading Tony's article) and instead of Yahoo Pipes I've been using Batchgeocode to retrieve the latitude and longitudes and then the Google Spreadsheet Map Wizard to create a map from the data.

The Google Maps API Tricks blog also has a post on how you can use Google Maps' own geocoder. The Google geocoder can export csv-data, which can then be directly imported into a Google Spreadsheet.

One of the awesome things about the importHTML function is that it is dynamic and automatically refreshes. This means you could use Tony's tutorial with weather or other data presented in table format on the web and create dynamic Google Maps that automatically refresh when the data is updated.

A Street View Drive Through Madrid

Madrid Drive

Mapperz has produced the first mash-up using the new Street View for Madrid. The mash-up provides driving directions in Madrid with the option to follow the route in Street View. The default route takes you past the Alcalá Gate and alongside the Buen Retiro Park. You can of course enter your own route.

The Mapperz mash-up is based on the Driving Directions with Street View example, created by Thor Mitchell, that Google uses in its demo gallery.

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House
WikiSailing has nothing to do with Street View, or driving directions for that matter, but is a great example of how the new Google Earth browser plug-in can be used to create astounding virtual tours. WikiSailing is a wiki sailing guide that includes a number of coastal tours created with the Google Earth Browser.

In these virtual tours a plane flies along some famous stretches of coast. The viewer can control the speed of the flight and adjust the viewpoint to look left, right or straight ahead. You can ever change from a plane to a helicopter or boat.

So far the wiki has tours of

Monday, October 27, 2008

Street View in Spain

Google have added Street View to Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona and Valencia in Spain.

Here are some early findings:


Catedral de la Almudena, Bernabeu, Puerta de Europa, Prado, Bolsa de Madrid, Teatro Real

La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila (a Gaudi building), Monumental Toros, Arc de Triomf

Plaza de Toros, Seville Cathedral, Plaza de Espana

Palau de les Arts

And for Spanish speakers - here is the video:

Video Link

Street View on the iPhone

iPhoneYap have posted a number of screenshots of Street View running in the iPhone 2.2 beta software. The Street Views come with a small map circle at the bottom right of the screen showing the location of the view.

The screenshots also look at Google Maps driving and transit directions and local search.

However the news of Street View for the iPhone is rather overshadowed today by the news of the release of Google Earth for the iPhone. Frank Taylor on the Google Earth Blog has all the news of this release and a cool video demonstration.

More on Street View
The French blog Zorgloob has a good article on Street View that reveals that after the release of Street View in Spain tomorrow next up will be Italy, then Germany (Spring 2009), the UK and then the Netherlands.

Zorgloob also reveals some interesting facts about how Google captures and serves the Street View imagery. For example, Google use tricycles to take images where cars aren't allowed to drive.

Via: Mapperz & Mibazaar


Panoramas on Google Maps

Two weeks ago Google added Street View to a number of French cities. The rumours are that tomorrow Google will announce Street View for a number of Spanish towns. Therefore it seems only fair to do a quick round up of some of the wonderful websites that provide 360 panoramas with Google Maps. Perhaps the surprising thing is that each of the sites listed here provide panoramas of far better resolution than you get with Street View.

Uluru Panorama
Panedia is an Australian site that has mapped over 6000 interactive panoramas, including Uluru (above, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Panedia allows users to search for panoramas via a Google Map. The panoramas are tagged on the map and thumbnails of the panoramas are shown in a sidebar. When you zoom in on an area or pan the map the thumbnails change to reflect the panoramas currently in the map view.

Panedia have also recently added a new feature that allows users to embed Panedia panoramas in their own websites. Here is an example below,

Sydney Virtual Tours by

Nikon Indy 300
The Nikon Indy 300 site is an example of a website using Panedia's mapped panoramas to enhance the experience of their users.

The site has embedded a map of the course of the Nikon Indy 300 that includes numerous interactive panoramas around the track.

Singapore VR
Singapore at Night
Singapore VR is a project website created by VR photographer, Aram Pan to give visitors a virtual experience of Singapore. It not only covers the usual tourist spots but also the people and events that make Singapore so unique.

The site uses Google Maps to show where each panorama was taken. When you open a map marker you are presented with a thumbnail and a link to the panorama.

Limoges 360
Limoges 360 Panorama
Limoges 360 has mapped over 150 panoramas of this beautiful French city.

As well as the panoramas Limoges 360 includes a number of map layers that can be turned on or off. The layers include libraries, churches, cinemas, parks, markets, museums and many more. But it is the panoramas that will take your breath away.

360 Toronto has created a Google Map of locations throughout the city of Toronto where you can interact with panoramic views of various locations. Dubbed the "See Toronto" project its aim is to promote tourism for the city. You can view the CN Tower, Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome), University of Toronto and Toronto City Hall (among others).

Panoramic Earth
Panoramic Earth maps 360 degree panoramas from around the world. Each panorama includes a local description and visitor reviews. One very nice feature of the maps is the direction finder that indicates your virtual view as you navigate the 360 degree panorama.

Panoramic Earth also provides the option of embedding the content in another web site.
360Cities have recently redesigned their site of panoramic images. They have now mapped over 5,000 panoramic QuickTime Movies for 45 cities around the world, with 'many more to come'. The new home page of 360Cities has some 'Twittervision' style animation between the mapped cities.

360 Panoramy
This site has mapped hundreds of 360 degree panoramas, mainly in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic: Prague 360

Explore the beautiful city of Prague using this great Google Maps mashup (translated into 18 languages) Features city highlights with a nice Flash panoramic viewer. This is definitely one to check out!

360 Tuscany
Tuscany has to be one of the most beautiful areas in the world. If you've never had the opportunity to visit this region of Italy, or if have and you wish to be reminded of its beauty then visit Tuscany 360.

360 Tuscany provides a large number of interactive 360 degree panoramic images of the Tuscany region in Italy. It includes panoramas for Assisi, Cortona, Elba, Florence, Lucca, Montepulciano, Perugia, Pisa, San Gimignano and Siena. Each town has its own Google Map on which the available panoramas are tagged. When you click on a tag the selected panorama opens. Bellisimo!

A series of 360 degree pictures, taken mostly in the region of Galicia, and placed over a Google map. The mashup is related to the, a photography stock website.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Around the World in 80 Seconds

Around the World in 80 Seconds

After dinner at the Reform Club yesterday I took a seat in the reading-room beside the open fire. I was soon joined by my usual five whist partners.

It was during the ensuing conversation that I somehow found myself betting twenty thousand pounds that it was possible to travel around the world in 80 seconds using the newly opened Google Earth browser plug-in.

What follows is my attempts to circumnavigate the globe in less than 80 seconds ...

Other Book Related Maps

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Street View in Spain

Spanish website Blog Urbanismo is reporting that there will be a press announcement on Tuesday, October 28th, about the release of Street View imagery in Spain. They say that they received this invitation for a press conference on Tuesday.


You're invited to the briefing presentation in Spain of Street View next Tuesday Oct. 28 in Madrid.

Javier Gonzalez-Soria, Director of the Division of Tourism Spanish Google, Olga San Jacinto, Director of Finance, Real Estate and Google Local Spain and Fernando Delgado, Google engineer in Zurich will be responsible for presenting alongside Pablo Bautista, manager of the Municipal Promotion of Tourism in Madrid; Monica Espina, Director of and Juan Vallejo, Director General of lanetro.
(Google Translate)

If Google do release Street View for Spain on Tuesday it will be exactly a fortnight after the release of Street View in Lille, Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice. screen shot is a Spanish real estate website that uses Google Maps to show the location of properties. If you look at the screen shot above you will see that have already added the Street View button and icon to their maps.

Via: Google Earth Blog


A Weekend Break

Capitol Building
This virtual tour of Washington D.C. takes in the White House, The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, The Washington Monument, the United States Capitol and many other buildings in the United States Capital.

The Terrain of Google Earth

This tour from EarthSwoop takes in some of the amazing natural wonders of the world that are observable in Google Earth, such as Uluru (Ayer's Rock), Cappadocia, Table Rock and the Norwegian Fjords.

Both of these 3D tours use the Google Earth Browser plug-in and at the moment only work in Windows.


Friday, October 24, 2008

My Maps Australia Awards 2008

Google have today launched the My Maps Australia Awards for 2008.

The ten winners will receive "Best My Maps Awards" and one of these will win the grand prize of a 13" 2.1 GHz Macbook. The My Maps will be judged on three criteria of creativity, originality and ease of use.

Entries close November 28. To enter you must be an Australian resident and over 18.

In order to show you what you can create with My Maps Google have asked a few Australian celebrities to create their own:

Favourite surf beaches in Australia: Mick Fanning, 2007 ASP World Title holder
Famous gardens in Sydney: Jamie Durie, Horticulturalist, landscape designer, TV Host
Best coffee in Melbourne: David Makin, Australian Barista of the Year
Famous grave sites: Helen Harris OAM, Professional historian

Via: Official Google Australia Blog: My Maps Australia Awards 2008 &


Friday Fun With Google Maps

XKCD - Working for Google Maps
I know regular readers of this blog will have been wondering how Mike has been fairing since he gave up Google Maps Mania to work for the Google Maps team. It looks like the guys at XKCD are planning to keep us informed:

Google Sailing Directions c15th Century
Gizmodo found this old print out of Google Maps Sailing Directions from the fifteenth century. The directions are for Christopher Columbus' voyage from Spain to India.

Unfortunately in the fifteenth century Google Maps had problems calculating directions that avoided the edge of the world. Google does give sailors ample warnings that they are approaching the depths of the unknown. For example, in this print out, after turning left at the Terrible Kraken the next five steps in the directions are all warning of the approaching abyss.

Via: Gizmodo

Street View of the Week

This mechanical elephant in Nantes is 12 meters high and made from 45 tons of wood and steel. It can take up to 49 passengers for a 45-minute walk. Some of you may recognise the elephant as it is a replica of The Sultan's Elephant which toured the world from 2005 to 2007.

Via: Google Sightseeing

Google Maps in the News

The BBC are working with CASA on two geographic surveys. One of the maps even made it onto television. One of the surveys if about a proposed car congestion charge in Manchester. The other is a Credit Crunch Survey.

Via: Digital Urban

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Paragliding Simulator

Frank from the Google Earth Blog e-mailed me about this awesome paragliding flight simulator from

Before starting your flight you can choose the colour of your glider, your take-off heading, the wind speed and direction, the thermal density, thermal height and even the thermal size. When you are ready just press 'Let's Fly!'

Whilst flying you can use the left and right keys to change directions. As well as the Google Earth browser plug-in the game uses Google Maps to show your position at all times. The object of the game is to find those thermals and gain some height.

When you land you are presented with the results of your flight, including the highest altitude you reached and your top speed. You are even presented with a Google Map showing where you took off and where you landed.

Sorry but I've got to go now and play with this some more.

Via: Google Earth Blog

Also Check out the original Mini Flight Sim for the Google Earth browser.


Reverse Geocoding With Google Maps

Google have added reverse geocoding to the Google Maps API.

Geocoding is the process of converting an address into a latitude and longitude. For example, the White House has the postal address 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., USA. But if I want to map the White House I need to know what its latitude and longitude are (38.89767,-77.03655). If I am making a map with the Google Maps API I can use either the HTTP Geocoding service for server-side geocoding or the GClientGeocoder class for client-side geocoding.

Reverse Geocoding
Reverse Geocoding is, not surprisingly, the reverse of geocoding. Instead of converting an address into a latitude and longitude it is the process of converting the latitude and longitude into an address. For example, if I was given the co-ordinates '38.89767,-77.03655' a reverse geocoder would be able to convert that into the address for the White House. To find out more read through the reference and sample code.

Examples of Reverse Geocoding
Google have created a very simple example map showing the new reverse geocoder in action. If you click on this example map the reverse geocoder will convert the latitude and longitude into a postal address.

MeetWays map
MeetWays allow users to find a point of interest between two addresses. Let's say you need to meet a friend or client for lunch on the other side of town. ways will allow you to enter both addresses and the type of restaurant you are looking for and give you the exact halfway point and a list of restaurants in that area.

Using Google Maps' geocoder MeetWays can find the latitude and longitude of the two addresses the user enters and work out the latitude and longitude that is the halfway point. MeetWays then uses the reverse geocoder to convert that latitude and longitude into an address. MeetWays can then find the points of interest you have chosen around that address (in the screen shot above MeetWays has found the Pizza restaurants halfway between my house and a friend's house).

Reverse Geocoding Game

Pamela Fox, of the Google Maps team, has also created a nice game that utilises the new reverse geocoder. In the game players have one minute to pinpoint on a map as many postal addresses as they can.

The game gives the player an address and the player then has to click on the map where they think that address is. The reverse geocoder is then used to work out the postal address of the point clicked and points are awarded based on how close the guess was.

Via: Google Geo Developers Blog: Geocoding... in Reverse!

Location Marker Editing
It is also now possible to edit location markers outside of the USA. When you search for a location in Google Maps the results are shown on the map with a red marker. Sometimes the red marker is not positioned in exactly the correct location. If you are logged into a Google account you can now drag the marker to the correct location.

This feature has been available in the USA for a while but I think it has not been available outside the US until now. I'm pleased to say I have just corrected the marker for my home address in London.

Via: Mapperz


The Adults Only Google Map

hookupmaps Map
Seriously this map is for adults only and is NSFW.

This Google Map mash-up geo-tags the messages in Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" section. Currently the site is only indexing New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington, DC.

To help find your ideal casual partner you can filter the search results by location and by sex and sexual orientation. You can even filter out those who post without photographs. The results are then marked on a Google Map with little red hearts. Clicking on a heart loads the results into the map sidebar. Clicking on a sidebar link opens the original message on Craiglist.

Via: Wired

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Buying Property on Google Maps

The Fitsrovia Apartments
Fitzrovia Apartments Map
The Fitzrovia Apartments is a great Google Maps mash-up designed to promote apartments in central London. The site uses Google Maps not only to show the location of the apartments but to display the plans of the apartments.

It is possible to view the floor plans of each floor within Google Maps and to zoom in on individual apartments. Each apartment also comes with a link to view the individual apartment floor plan in a pop-up window. The ground floor plan also comes with links to photographs of views of the building.

As well as viewing the building's floor plans this mash-up includes the option to view a map of the area with local facilities tagged. It is possible to view nearby restaurants, shops and notable residents and also view nearby photographs.

Concept / designed by
Imobilien Map
This Brazilian real estate mash-up shows property for sale throughout the south of the country. It is possible to search the map by type of property, number of rooms, price and area.

The results of a search are shown on the map by orange markers. Clicking on the marker opens an information window containing a photograph of the property and a link to the property's details.

DotHomes screen shot
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. Also, where available, each property comes with the option to view the Google Maps street view.

MapMap map
This mash-up claims to be the largest Czech real estate website. It is possible to search the properties by location and price.

Each property is shown on a Google Map with a small key marker. Each marker contains a photograph of the property and a link to the property details. Each marker also comes with a link to view similar properties.

Habiter-Ici Map
This French Google Maps mash-up displays property for sale in the Saint-Etienne area of France. It is possible to search for properties in the usual manner, by number of bedrooms, location or price.

Properties are shown on the map by a small purple marker. Clicking on the marker loads the property details and a photograph of the property into the map sidebar.

Emlak Haritam
If you are interested in buying property in Turkey you should visit Emlak Haritam. All properties are displayed on a Google Map and also listed in a sidebar beside the map. The map markers contain photographs and details of each property.

India Real Estate Map

An Indian Real Estate site that uses Google Maps to display properties for sale. The map includes an easy to use interface for sellers to add their own property to the map.


Finding a Restroom With Google Maps
SitOrSquat Map
The wonderfully named is a website and mobile application that has mapped over 25,000 public restrooms. In their own words SitOrSquat "is dedicated to telling you where the closest public restroom is and whether or not that restroom is worthy of your bare bottom."

The over 25,000 mapped bathrooms include gas stations/rest stops, restaurants, bars, cafés and health clubs. As well as finding nearby restrooms users can rate them, view photos and read other users' reviews. also say that members can create a list of their favourite toilets and share them with friends, co-workers and acquaintances.'s iPhone application can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store for free.

Also See - A map of New York restrooms

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gears Geolocation API Updated for Wifi

The Google Gears Geolocation API has been updated. The Geolocation API is able to triangulate a mobile phone user's location from nearby cell-phone masts to get a position fix. Now the Geolocation API can also determine a user's position from WiFi signals. That isn't the end of the good news for developers either, because according to the Google UK Developer blog,

"there's no extra work for you as a developer. Gears simply considers Wi-Fi as an additional source of information and will return the best position estimate it can."

This move seems a direct response by Google to Mozilla Labs Geode, which uses Skyhook’s Loki technology to map the Wifi signals in an area to determine location.

The Google Code blog names three services that they say are using the Geolocation API:
Via: Google Code Blog: Introducing the Gears Geolocation API for all laptop WiFi users &
UK Developer Blog: Increased Accuracy for Location in the Browser


UK Media Using Google Maps

ITN Story Map
ITN News Map
Independent Television News have created a news map that delivers news based on the user's location. The map uses the Google Gears Geolocation API to determine the user's location and then serves up news for that region.

It is possible to change the location manually to retrieve news from other parts of the world. It is also possible to filter the results to read news from the last week, the last fortnight, three weeks or the last month. The map also has the option to view the news in the Google Earth browser plug-in.

Via: Google Code Blog: Introducing the Gears Geolocation API for all laptop WiFi users

iPlayer Map
iPlayer Map has produced a Google Map with videos from the BBC geo-tagged and playable directly from the map. Because the map has embedded BBC iPlayer videos it means that only people in the UK will be able to watch the videos.

When the user clicks on one of the map markers an information window opens with a brief description of the video. When the user clicks on the video link a lightbox opens with the video embedded.

The mapped videos are also listed beneath the map.

Via: Mapperz

Earth Atlas

Earth Atlas
Earth Atlas screen shot
Thematic Mapping has produced Earth Atlas, a prototype web application for viewing KML files with the Google Earth plugin.

Earth Atlas comes with links to many of Thematic Mapping's own KMLs. It is also possible to view any KML file in Earth Atlas by pasting the address into the 'Your KML' panel in the left hand sidebar or by adding the KML to theEath atlas URL, like in this example:

Earth Atlas' panel interface is very well designed. A left hand side panel displays the KML links and it can be collapsed to expand the Google Earth view. Additional information about the KML is displayed in a panel under the Google Earth view. This panel can also be collapsed.

Thematic mapping have released Earth Atlas under a GNU General Public License v3, so it is possible for other developers to create their own versions. This is exactly what Soren Johannessen has done.

K2 Gaiaprojector

Soren has created a Danish language version of Earth Atlas, which he is calling K2 Gaiaprojector.

Soren's K2 Gaiaprojector displays a number of Soren's own excellent KMLs about Denmark. The KMLs are arranged into a number of categories, such as culture, statistics and environment. Of course if you prefer you can also view all of the KMLs in Google Earth. The link for each KML is provided at the bottom of the screen.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Book a Hostel on Google Maps
hostelworld map is an on-line directory for hostels, budget accommodation centres and package tours. The site was nominated for an Inspired IT award in Ireland for their inspired use of Google Maps.

You can search from the over 17,000 hostels directly from a Google Map using a search box or a drop down menu. You can also use the map to create routes, save your favourite hostels and check past and future bookings.

The map also includes an innovative breadcrumb trail. When you zoom in on an individual city breadcrumb links are provided at the top of the map, which you can use to quickly zoom the map to a country view, a continent view or a world view.