Monday, December 15, 2008

The Best Google Maps of 2008 - Part One

2008 has been another great year for Google Maps mashups. This year on Google Maps Mania we have reviewed over 1,000 incredible maps made using the Google Maps API.

Below is a month by month collection of some of my favourite maps we reviewed between January and June. These are not necessarily the best maps that were featured on Google Maps Mania but they happen to be some of my favourites.

Read The Best Google Maps of 2008 - Part Two

Mapdango allows users to quickly and easily find local information about any city or town in the world.

Do you need to find a nightclub in Central London for Friday night? Perhaps you would prefer a more intimate meal for two on the Thames. With over 3,000 reviews of bars and restaurants and 5,000 listings of clubs, theatres and cinemas the online entertainment guide map thelondonknowledge can help you plan the perfect night out.

The London Profiler

A huge amount of demographic information about Greater London from data on population attributes such as cultural/ethnicity, deprivation and crime etc.

Social networking using Google Maps to find and contact friends.

Real Time Swiss Trains
View all trains ion the Swiss rail network in real time.

Google Drive
A Google Maps driving game that even has collision detection.

Seero is a new video mapping service that allows users to broadcast live or on-demand video and track the locations in the video live on a Google Map.

21 Steps by Charles Cumming

A complete short story told on Google Maps.

A map documenting and reporting human rights abuses in Kenya. Users can text or e-mail abuses and they appear on the map.

Super SkyDive

A mashup of real video and Google Maps satellite imagery allows you to simulate a parachute jump onto any location in the Netherlands.

ZoomAndGo is an impressive social network for tourists and travellers that claims to have "the largest collection of user generated travel pictures and videos in the travel industry."


MapRooms was one of the first maps submitted to Google Maps Mania that used the new Google Maps for Flash API. MapRooms are chat rooms but with maps that you can work on collaboratively with other users. To get an idea of how MapRoom works try opening two browser windows and join the same map room with two different user names.

Holiday Maps

Holiday Maps tags Panoramio photos and Wikipedia articles of any chosen location on a Google 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.


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 each airplane is shown on the map with a small plane icon. The flight-path that each plane has taken is shown by a coloured line and the colour of that line indicates the altitude of the plane.

David Rumsey Google Map Collection

An amazing 120 historical maps overlaid on Google Maps. 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.


Google Earth Hacks and Google Earth Blog teamed up to create a web site that allows people to share and view 3D locations using the Google Earth plugin. Combining Google Earth Blog's vast knowledge of Google Earth and the thousands of kml files in existence with Google Earth Hack's experience of creating Google Earth and Google Maps collections is an inspired idea.

Crunchbase Maps

This Techcrunch map tags all the technology startups from its Crunchbase directory. You can browse the Crunchbase map by city, state, zip code, or country. You can even map all of the results within a certain range (e.g., all the startups within 10 miles of Sydney, the 165 companies in Manhattan, or the VCs on Sand Hill Road).

Senghor on the Rocks

This map has generated a lot of publictiy again in the last month. Google Maps Mania first reviewed the map in June. Senghor on the Rocks, is 'the first full-length novel consistently illustrated with Google Maps'.


Sometimes the best ideas are also the simplest ones. Tickr is a simple idea but also a great one. In essence Tickr lets you search Flickr by keyword and location. It is therefore possible to search Flickr for 'architecture' in 'Rome' or 'glaciers' in 'Alaska'.

Mini Flight Sim

The amazing James Stafford was the first to produce a flight sim for the new Google Earth Browser plug-in. In this mashup the plane permanently hugs the earth, and the gas pedal is permanently down. Steer left and right using the cursor keys as the world zooms by beneath your feet.

Read The Best Google Maps of 2008 - Part Two

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing list - kept me busy for hours. Interesting, though, that only about 10% are travel related. Prior to google maps - I would guess that 90% of map use was for travel.