Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Google Maps of the Week

This week Google won the internets with its April Fool's joke - Treasure Map. The Treasure Map even outdid last year's awesome April Fool's joke from the Google Maps team - 8-bit Maps.

I think a large part of the appeal of the treasure map is down to the beautiful map design of Alex Griendling. However, Google's decision to include a number of built in treasure trails on the map was inspired and played a huge part in ensuring the map quickly went viral. Just to provide some context - the Google Maps Mania post introducing Treasure Maps received over four times as much traffic as any other post this week.

BTW - the screenshot above comes from Weigh Anchor, Me Hearties, a real-time pirate tracking map built using the Treasure Map tiles.

Elsewhere this week I was impressed by two trip planning Google Maps based applications.

Outpost is a peer-to-peer trip planner that can help you find a ride to your destination with Ridejoy, book a room with Airbnb and find things to do, once you reach your destination, with Vayable.

To use Outpost you just need to enter a home address and a destination, the dates of your trip and the number of people taking the trip. A route for the trip is then shown on Google Maps, alongside the results for available ride-shares, Airbnb rooms and suggested things to do from Vayable. is a Google Map that helps you find where you can fly to from different airports around the world. It then helps you find and book a hotel at your destination and can even show you where you can rent a car.

If you click on any of the airport markers on the map then all the destinations that you can fly to from that airport are displayed on the map with polylines. If you then click on any of the displayed destinations you can find out which airlines fly the route.

It is also possible to select your destination airport and view nearby car rental offices and hotels on the map. So not only can you find a flight with you can also book your seat on the plane and find and book your hotel for when you arrive. 

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