Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Google Maps "hack" 5 years on

It's great to be back! I'm thrilled to be posting and to remind everyone why today is so significant to Google Maps Mania, the maps and mashup world, and the web at large.

I'll start with this Craigslist post that was put up 5 years ago..
New web interface for housing (beta) < rademach > 04/07 23:40:15

I'm working on a graphical interface to Craigslist rental and for-sale listings. It's still in early beta, but you can check it out at:

There's a link on that page to email me feedback, which I'd appreciate. Thanks! :)


..This is the first post that Paul Rademacher made to let the Craigslist community know about his little hack which combined housing data from the site with the exposed code that was available from the then newly available, Google Maps. After seeing Paul's creation I was personally inspired to start this blog and mentioned it on day 2 of posting.

Keep in mind that an API for Google Maps did not yet exist. This was the first act of its kind to mash data up and add it to a Google Map and as far as record keeping goes, is, the first Google Maps hack, or mashup. I've always tended to call it a hack since it's just more bad-ass and disruptive than a "mashup" sanctioned by a proper API. :)

There is so much significance to today and it started so many things. It's the act that showed that a Google Maps API should be created. What followed were many more from Google and others from across the web. This in turn gave rise to this massive, hysterical explosion of development on top of a Google map and specifically a transformation in the online real estate vertical that saw some of the best aggregators like Trulia and Redfin featuring a map as the center of their user experience.

In short, Paul Rademacher helped to change the web and he has been recognized for it the world over. The cool part? It's still being used as the go-to site for people looking for a place to live. Congrats to you Paul 5 years on for creating something that helped to change so much.



Jeremy Crampton said...

I agree! This was momentous, and in some ways Paul Rademacher can be considered one of the most important cartographers of the last 100 years. He's even in textbooks now: I told the story in my book Mapping in a section called "The Google Experience and the First Mashup."

coruscate said...

Fantastic, it spurred one of the greater moves towards everyone's access to internet mapping and creative cartography.

Jeffrey Martin said...

Yes, it changed my own history also. 360 Cities as it exists now simply wouldn't have been possible without the google maps API. The very first incarnation of was a site called which I launched in 2004 - at the time there was no google map for prague, and simply finding any map at all was very difficult. When we switched to google maps, all of a sudden the whole world could be colonized with our (then tiny) community's panoramic photos. 5 years on and we're using a ton of google geo api's.