Friday, April 30, 2010

Mapping the 'No Phone Zone'

No Phone Zone: Pledge Map

The Oprah Winfrey Show are using Google Maps as part of their 'No Phone Zone' campaign.

The Pledge Map shows real-time pledges by individuals in the USA and Canada to make their cars 'No Phone Zones'. If you click on the 'Get Involved' tab you can also view the cell phone laws in different states by clicking on the map. Click on a state and you can view the restrictions on texting, hands-free, and handheld phone use.

Make a pledge to make your car a 'No Phone Zone' and you just might see yourself appear on the map.

Via: Google LatLong


Create Collaborative Google Maps


WikiMapps is a Brazilian website that allows anyone to create a collaborative Google Map. WikiMapps is from the same team behind the Brazilian crime map site Wikicrimes.

WikiMapps allows groups of people to share information about geographic locations. Once you have created a map other users can add comments to your mapped locations. For example, if you have created a WikiMapp about the best restaurants in a city other users can add their comments to your mapped locations. People can agree or disagree with your review of the restaurant or add extra information.

The site allows users to embed created maps in their own websites or blogs. WikiMapps also highlights the most popular and the most recently created maps on its homepage.


Friday Fun with Google Maps

Jesus & Marge Found on Google Maps

A lot of people seem to think that they can see the face of Jesus in the satellite image of a field above. Personally I'm much more convinced that Europe is Marge Simpson.

European Airspace Rebooted produced this amazing visualisation to show European airspace coming back to life this week. The video is based on flight data from


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Live Tornado Action on Google Maps are using Google Maps to show the location of live storm chasers. The flashing cars on the map show the locations of storm chasers who are broadcasting live streaming video right now.

The storm chasers are experts in getting to the right place at the right time to document tornadoes, severe storms, hurricanes, winter and ice storms.

To create the map have partnered with iMapWeather. This means that as well as viewing live streaming video from the storm chasers you can view live weather on the map. A good trick is to turn on the tornado probability option to find which of the live streams are most likely to find a tornado.


Crime of Denmark on Google Maps

Danish Crime Map

Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet has created a Google Map to show the locations of crime in Copenhagen and Vestegnens and Central and West Zealand. The map is based on information from daily police reports. The paper is planning to add more towns and regions to the map in the future.

It is possible to view crime for a particular week using the drop-down menu. It is also possible to filter the map for types of crime. Because the site is mapping crime from the police's daily reports each information window contains comprehensive coverage of the criminal incident.



Finding Wildlife with Google Maps

National Wildlife Federation: Nature Find

The National Wildlife Federation is using Google Maps to help users find information about outdoor areas, nature parks and events.

The map is one of the most visited pages on the NWF website and it is easy to see why. Nature Find features a very impressive search feature. It is possible to search for outdoor areas or nature events by location, you can set a proximity range to only view events / locations within a certain distance and you can can select to view results from within a very large range of events and site types.

The results of a search are then displayed on a Google Map using categorised map markers, so that you can tell at a glance what type of event / outdoor area each represents. Click on any of the map markers and you will get detailed information and photogrpahs about the location or event

Via: Mashable


Bulgarian Google Maps Mashups Roundup

Bulgarian Properties

This Google Maps mashup shows properties for sale or rent in the major Bulgarian towns.

The map sidebar provides quick links to view properties in specific towns. Underneath the map it is possible to select which types of property you wish to view.

Each information window includes a photo of the property and a link to more details.

Sofia Traffic Map

Sofia Traffic is a very useful driving directions map for the Bulgarian capital Sofia that also shows the current traffic conditions in the city.

To get driving directions the user just needs to click on the map to establish their start point and click on the map again to show their destination. The map then generates driving directions for the route. Traffic conditions are shown along the route by coloured map markers. Yellow markers indicate good traffic conditions and red markers indicate poor conditions.

Varna Plan

Varna Plan is an impressive Google Maps mash-up for the Varna area in Bulgaria. Thanks to the map's impressive area polygon selection search engine it is possible to view an incredible amount of data about Varna on the map.

The map displays commercial, rental and residential property for sale in Varna. It is also possible to view from a large selection of tourist related layers.


The Stumble Upon for Google Maps

Stumble Travel has released a Google Maps mashup to show random videos of tourist locations around the world.

After you load the map just click the 'start travelling' button and the map will zoom to a random tourist attraction and show you a YouTube video of the location. To move forward to the next random location just press the 'Stumble to your next random destination' button.

If you click on the attraction title or location name (just above the video player) you will be taken to a page that shows detailed information about that destination. features Google Maps throughout the site. Each individual destination includes a Google Map showing its location. The site also feature Google Maps for major cities around the world.

The city pages show tourist attractions on a Google Map categorised by 'attraction', 'restaurants', 'night-life' and 'shopping'.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tag the World


Stickybits lets you add a barcode to a physical object. When someone then scans the barcode, using an iPhone or Android phone with a stickybit app, they can see what you and everyone else has tagged to the object.

Stickybits provides a few examples of how you can use the service. For example, attaching a video to a birthday card, attaching a resume to a business card or attaching photos of a product to a flyer.

The stickybits website includes a real-time stream of scanning activity. The page includes a Google Map which shows the locations of the latest stickybit activity. There is also a stickybit API which seems to be calling out for a developer to produce a Google Map tracking the locations of objects tagged with a stickybit barcode.

Also See

Tales of Things - tag real world objects, follow them on Google Maps and Twitter.


2010 California State Geologic Maps

2010 Fault Activity Map of California

The State of California Department of Conservation have released two Google Maps, the 2010 New State Geologic Map and the 2010 State Fault Activity Map. The department's website also has an interesting page that explores the history of geologic maps of California.

Both of the new maps use images overlaid on Google Maps. The maps include a transparency slider control so that you can compare the overlays with the Google Maps base tiles underneath.

2010 Geologic Map of California

Via: Mibazaar

Two More French Google Maps Mashups

1er Mai

The French Socialist Party have created a Google Map to show the locations of the traditional May Day demonstrations in France.

The information windows provide a link to the events created on La Coopol, the social network launched by the Socialist Party or users can add an event if it isn't yet listed on the map. is a website guide that helps motorists to discover garages from the testimonies of other motorists.

When your car needs a service it's always nice to have advice from other motorists. Users of the map can search for mechanics on the map by location and by garages that specialise in particular car makes.


Share Your Adventures with Google Maps uses Google Maps to help travellers create a travel route, location by location, that they can then share with friends to give a step-by-step route overview of their journey.

The aim of the site is to help travellers plan or share a travel itinerary by showing the route, along with key destinations and attractions. The map is generated as the user keeps building out the itinerary and adding destinations.

You can also use to browse global travel itineraries created by others, submitted and rated by the site users.

Here are a few examples of user created routes:

Finnish Google Maps Mashup Roundup


Intermediator is a website to help Finnish businesses find suitable office premises. Using Google Maps Intermediator’s clients can search specific areas for premises and filter by type and size.

Viva Premises
Viva Premises offers a similar solution for businesses looking for premises. It uses Google Maps to show the locations of office space available to rent or buy.

The website uses Google Maps to help organisations find suitable conference venues in Finland. The site includes a multifaceted search engine and uses Google Maps to show the location of each venue in its database.

World Vision
Finland’s World Vision aims to help develop and enhance the living standards in the developing world. World Vision uses Google Maps to highlight areas in the world where the organisation has established projects. For example, here is the Google Map showing World Vision's projects in India.

All the maps above were produced with the help of Finnish Internet marketing company Really?

Tilannehuone (Finnish for situation room) is a website tracking fires, car accidents, animal resues and environmental accidents in Finland.

Different map markers are used for each type of incident and each incident is mapped with a time and date.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Berlin Travel Times on Google Maps


Mapnificent is a Google Maps mashup that shows how far you can travel on public transport for any given time period in Berlin.

To use the map just click on a location in Berlin, set the length of time and the map will add a layer to the map showing the areas that you can travel to in that time from your location. It is possible to select a journey with just public transport or with a bike and public transport.

This map is a great resource for anyone in Berlin who is looking to buy a property and wants to work out the areas within a set commuting time from their work place.

The developers of Mapnificent say it is inspired by Mapumental, which has been in private beta for an age. Mapumental itself is trying to recreate something like Where Can I Live? which shows London property (from Nestoria) based on the public transport travel times from a given location.


Creating Sound Gardens with Google Maps

Tactical Sound Garden

The Tactical Sound Garden [TSG] Toolkit is "an open source software platform for cultivating public 'sound gardens' within contemporary cities". In other words the Tactical Sound Garden allows anyone to create a Google Map of sounds in areas that have WiFi so that people with a WiFi enabled mobile device can then listen to the created soundscape when they are nearby.

Users of the Tactical Sound Garden [TSG] Toolkit can 'plant' sounds at a particular location. Then anyone with a WiFi enabled device can walk though the created virtual sound garden listening to the uploaded sounds.

Currently there are sound gardens in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, San Diego, CA and Zurich, Switzerland.

Hat-tip: @geoparadigm


Mapping the Trees of San Francisco

Urban Forest Map

The Urban Forest Map is a Google Map application that is trying to map every tree in San Francisco.

One aim of the map is to calculate the environmental benefits the trees are providing, how many gallons of stormwater they are helping to filter, how many pounds of air pollutants they are capturing, how many kilowatt-hours of energy they are conserving, and how many tons of carbon dioxide they are removing from the atmosphere.

Using the map it is possible to search for trees near any location in San Francisco. You can find trees that bear edible fruits and nuts or those with beautiful flowers. You can also search the map for trees of a particular type.

Looking at the map you can see that the Urban Forest Map already has a huge database of trees in San Francisco but if you know of one that is missing you can add it to the map.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Google Earth Comes to Google Maps

Google Maps now has a Google Earth button. Since 2008 Google Maps API developers have been able to provide a Google Earth view in their Google Maps mashups. Now it is possible to view Google Earth directly in

This means that Google Maps users can now enjoy the 3D buildings and terrain that users of the Google Earth standalone application have long enjoyed. It is even possible to grab the embed code and place a view directly within your own website or blog.

Another great feature of Google Earth is the ability to dive beneath the ocean floor. Check out this 3D model of the German Battleship Bismark or the model of The Titanic in Google Maps.

So what are you waiting for? Go and explore some of the world's amazing buildings and landmarks directly in Google Maps:

Sydney Opera House
Eiffel Tower
Statue of Liberty
Niagara Falls
Taj Mahal
Neptune Memorial Reef (Ocean)

Via: Official Google Blog: Earthly pleasures come to Maps


Follow 4Chan on Google Maps


localchan is a Google Maps mashup that lets you follow threads on the 4chan bulletin board directly from a map.

Discussion threads are displayed on the map with heart shaped map markers. If you click on a map marker the thread loads in a window overlaid on the map. The locations of 4chan users who have replied to the thread are shown on the map and a line connects each of the markers to show the chronology of the discussion.

If you click any of the user names in the discussion thread window the map will centre on that user's location. It is even possible to join in any of the 4Chan discussion threads by clicking on the 'reply' button.


Create a Travel Guide with Google Maps


Geolover is a nice travel guide for tourists and travellers that uses the Google Maps API. You can use Geolover to find popular tourist destinations around the world and build your own travel guide, which can then be accessed from your mobile phone.

To use Geolover you can just zoom the map onto a city and the most popular tourist attractions in that city will appear on the map. You can then browse through the points of interest, read the location's entry from Wikipedia, view videos from YouTube, view photographs from Flickr and read tips from Foursquare.

If a particular tourist attraction take your fancy you can then add it to your 'My List'. When you are satisfied with your list you can then create your own travel guide and map and save the link to your mobile phone.


Mapping American Crime with Google Maps

RAIDS Online

RAIDS Online uses Google Maps to display crime data in the USA. Currently police departments in Arvada, CO, Cincinnati, OH, Durham, NC, Lewiston, ME, Missouri City, TX, Pembroke Pines, FL, Rochester, NY, Topeka, KS and Whittier, CA have signed up to share their crime data with RAIDS Online.

Using the map it is possible to view crime type, street-level address, address name and the date and time of the crime. Filtering capabilities include: address search, buffer, and date ranges.

Users have the ability to create heat maps based on the data in their current view. This is particularly useful in visualising crime hotspots in a particular area. As well as the maps interface it is possible to view graphs of crime trends. The graphs automatically update based on the data that is displayed on the map, giving the user full control over what data they would like to analyse.


Google Maps for MapInfo Professional

Mapworkspace is an online service developed by KOREM for MapInfo Professional users to upload and share their maps with the public, their colleagues, or other professionals.

You can create maps using MapInfo Professional, publish them on mapworkspace, choose the confidentiality level of your maps and share the maps within your own web environment. Users have the option to use Google Maps as the base map layer and use all the features of the Google Maps API.

A free of charge basic service is available to anyone who registers which provides users with all the functionality of mapworkspace and a personal folder of up to 10 Mb. Users of the basic service can also chooses to make their maps public or private.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jack the Twitter Tracked with Google Maps

Jack the Twitter

Beware if you use the micro-blogging service Twitter as you might just be hunted down by Jack the Twitter.

Jack the Twitter is a fictional character written by Marcus Brown. Using messages left by individuals on Twitter Marcus Brown is creating a fictional narrative in which Jack the Twitter appears to be stalking Twitter users through the dark streets of London.

Marcus is weaving a narrative around messages found on Twitter to make it appear that Jack the Twitter is secretly spying on them. Each individual narrative is shown on a Google Map, so that over time the created map will become a large site specific narrative canvas.

This is such an inspired idea, although I might just now stop geo-tagging my Tweets.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The London Marathon on Google Maps

Virgin London Marathon

If you want to watch tomorrow's London Marathon you can use the London Marathon Map to find a good view point. The map includes a spectator guide that can help you find a lively or quiet spot to view the race.

The map includes mile markers for the course and also allows you to view Street Views of each mile point.

London Marathon in Street View

The London Marathon Street View map let's you follow the route of the London Marathon. The map shows the Street Views for all the mile markers along the route and also lets you view points of interest along the route, like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.


The Long Journey Home - Mapped

Benji's Long Journey Home - Video Diary

Benji Lanyado, a travel writer for The Guardian newspaper, was one of the many travellers who were caught stranded by the closure of Europe's airspace last week. Benji was in Morocco when he heard that his flight home from Gibraltar was cancelled because of the volcanic ash cloud.

Benji had no choice but to make the journey overland. He eventually arrived home on Thursday. Due partly to a mutual love of a certain football team (and because I'm also a great fan of his travel pieces) I follow Benji on Twitter. Therefore last week I followed Benji's journey home with fascination via his Tweets.

Now, for The Guardian, Benji has created a Google Maps based video diary of his experiences trying to get back to London. The video diary map was created partly to accompany Benji's article for The Guardian, Iceland Volcano: Where was the help?.


Hubble Telescope's 20th Anniversary

Today is the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope has proved a huge success and has returned some of the most incredible images ever taken of space.

Google Sky

One of the best ways of viewing the images taken by the Hubble Telescope is to view them in situ in Google Sky. Google Sky includes a Hubble Showcase (accessible from the menu at the bottom of the page).

The Hubble Showcase lets you view some of the most spectacular images captured by Hubble and view them in context with Google's Sky map.

Star Viewer

One of the most interesting showcases of Hubble over the years has been the European Space Agency's Hubblecast series of videos. The Hubblecast videos have been exploring the images captured by Hubble and explaining what they teach us about the the Universe.

Over the last couple of years I've been geotagging the videos with the Google Maps API so that you can watch the videos embedded in the Google Sky map.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Videos of the World on Google Maps

Video Map

Here's one of my own projects - a map currently showing over 400 videos from around the world.

Essentially that is it- just an interesting way to explore the world with Google Maps and YouTube. However I thought it might be useful to take you through some of the tools that I used in building this map.

Donkey Magic Map Maker
There are a lot of very useful Google Maps creation tools available. I used Donkey Magic Map Maker to help me create this map because I find it one of the simplest and easiest to use.

Using Donkey Magic Map Maker it is very easy to add map markers and, when you have finished adding all your markers, you can just cut & paste the html for the whole web page including your Google Map.

To complete a map all you need to do is add your own Google Maps API key.

Google Maps Lat / Long Bookmarklet
To get the latitude and longitude of the locations featured in the videos on my map I used this latitude and longitude bookmark with Google Maps. This javascript bookmarklet allows you to grab the latitude and longitude of any location whilst using Google Maps. You can then just cut and paste the coordinates directly into the Donkey Magic Map Maker to create a new placemark.

If your map contains a large number of map markers it is best to use marker clustering. For the Video Map I used MarkerClusterer as it is one of the more attractive looking of the clustering libraries available for the Google Maps API.

Map Icons
Finally, to refine the look of the map I changed the custom Google Maps icon to one from the huge google-maps-icon collection. The google-maps-icon collection currently host over 900 Google Maps icons, which normally ensures that you can find at least one to meet your requirements.


Friday Fun with Google Maps

A Street View World Record
The Street View car seems to have decided to follow Wendy Southgate as she took her dog for a walk in Suffolk, England. Wendy Southgate claims to appear in Google Maps Street View 48 times.

We think this makes Wendy the Street View World Record holder. That is unless you know better ...

Google Street View Roulette

Street View Funny, the Street View Gallery website, has created a fun application that lets you view a random Street View image. To play Street View Roulette just press the 'Random Google Street View' button.

Stig in Street View

To complete this week's full-house of Street View stories; I like this Google Sightseeing post on Stig's desperation to appear in Google Maps Street View and Google's equally desperate attempts to blur him out.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Google Maps Adds Kinetic Scrolling

Google Maps has a couple of new features; kinetic scrolling and Suggest for Google Maps.

Kinetic scrolling means that when you now pan Google Maps and release your mouse the map continues moving with the momentum of your scrolling. You can check it out in action in the video below,

The other new addition to Google Maps is suggested search. The new suggest tool ensures that you get the most useful suggestions depending on where you're zoomed into on the map. For example, if you search for "Mandela" in San Francisco, you'll see items such as Mandela High School and businesses in nearby Oakland as suggested search results.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny
Via: Google Operating System and Google Lat Long


Finding Restrooms with Google Maps


LooToGo is a Google Map that shows the locations of public toilets in Germany. The site currently has over 28,000 restrooms in its database.

It is possible to search the map by location. If you click on a map marker you will be taken to the reviews section for that public toilet. If you know of a loo that is missing you can even add it to the map.

LooToGo also comes with an iPhone app, so now you can find your nearest toilet when you are out and about and caught on the hop.

Also See


UK Election Twitter Maps is another Twitter and Google Maps application trying to track the real-time conversations around the upcoming UK general election. The application tracks the positive and negative comments made on Twitter about the leaders of the three main political parties in the UK.

To post your support for a party leader simply tweet the politician's name, a happy smiley, your postcode and the tag #electwits. For example, "Nick Clegg is the boss :-) #electwits SW1"

If you Tweet your postcode your message will appear on the Google Map. The application also displays a number of graphs to show the number of positive comments made about each of the three candidates for Prime Minister.

Also See

Twit Vote UK


Moving from ArcGIS to Google Maps

Union County Community Mapper

Union County's Community Mapper application has been converted from ArcGIS Server to the Google Maps API.

Users of the map can select one or many parcels by either clicking the map or using a single search text box. Once parcels are selected a user can uncover lots of spatial data by clicking various tabs within the information window. Answers to questions like "What school district am I in?", "What flood zones are on my property?" and "Where are my closest parks, libraries and bus stops located?" are just a few mouse clicks away.

It is also possible to export parcels in kml, csv and xml formats.

Jason Sandford has also written about the reasons for moving over to the Google Maps API and some of the advantages and disadvantages of the update on his blog GeoJason.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Google Maps Adds Buzz Layer

Google have added a Buzz layer to Google Maps. If you select 'Buzz' from the 'More' drop down menu in Google Maps you can now view the latest real time updates posted to Google's microblogging service.

The new layer lets you view the latest geo-tagged comments made to Buzz. The benefits of viewing near real-time comments on Google Maps may not always be apparent but the new layer should prove really interesting when locations are in the news.

For example, if you zoom into the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland at the moment you should be able to pick up a few recent photographs of the volcanic eruption posted by users to Buzz.

Hat-tip: Mapperz & Google LatLong


Tracking Objects with Google Maps

Tales of Things

The Tales of Things is a new project, currently in beta, that allows you to tag real world objects. Once tagged objects can be geo-located on Google Maps and be followed on Twitter.

A free iPhone app allows anyone with an iPhone to scan, comment and add locations to objects. The application lets you take a photo and add a QR code to any object, that can then be followed on the Tale of Things.

If you find an object with a Tale's of Things QR code attached to it you can scan and decode the object on the Tale of Things website and learn more about its history and movements.

Tale of Things is a collaborative project from Brunel University, Edinburgh College of Art, University College London, University of Dundee and University of Salford.


Finding Concerts with Google Maps

Transmeet.Tv Music Map

Transmeet.Tv is a Google Maps application for finding concerts and festivals. At the moment the site seems most active in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, although events are also listed in other countries.

Upcoming musical events are displayed on the map using categorised map markers. The lettered map markers help identify the musical genre of each listed concert.

When you click on a map marker the map disappears behind a lightbox type window that displays information about the event and also gives you access to a whole host of rich media. It is possible to listen to music by the featured artists, browse photographs, view videos from YouTube and post about the event to Facebook and Twitter.


On the Trail of a Rapist

Washington Post: Rapist's Trail
The Washington Post have produced an impressive interface to explore the story of a rapist believed to be responsible for 17 attacks in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The story includes a large custom produced interactive map showing the locations of each of the attacks.

The application also makes effective use of a small Google Map for its details on each individual case.

Website Innovative Interactivity has an interesting interview with Kat Downs, Information Designer at The Washington Post, about her experience designing and building this impressive interface. The interview includes a brief explanation of some of the design issues of using Google Maps in the interface.


Google Maps Navigation Now in the UK

Engadget are reporting that Google Maps Navigation for Android phones is now available in the UK.

Google Maps Navigation has everything you would expect to find in a GPS navigation system, like 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting. Until now the service had only been available in America but Engadget reports that it is now also available in the UK.


Government Take Down Requests Map

Government Requests Map

Google have created a Google Map to show the requests they have received from government agencies around the world to remove content from Google services, or provide information about users of Google services and products. The map shows the number of requests received between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.

The map shows Brazil, Germany, India and the USA leading the charge in asking for Google to remove content. However the map does show a big question mark over China as the Chinese government demand that take down requests also remain secret.

If you click on any of the countries on the map you can view a breakdown of the type of take down requests made by that government. The 'geo' requests are presumably requests to have map tiles removed from Google Maps and Google Earth.

Hat-tip: Mapperz