Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Google Maps of the Week

Marinexplore has created a Google Map to visualize data captured by oceanographic instruments positioned all over the world.

The map allows users to explore data from over 1.2 billion measurements taken by global buoys, floats, ocean platforms, satellites and wave gliders. The map includes a time slider to enable users to filter the data by location and by date.

The available data sets include wave watch data, sea wind data, sea temperature and ocean currents data.

Citymapper is a near perfect public transport routing app for London commuters. The application allows users to plan journeys via bus, tube, train and even includes information about London's bike sharing docking stations.

As well as being able to find routes across London Citymapper also allows users to select individual tube and train station or bus-stop on the map to get real-time information about live departures from each station or bus-stop. It is even possible to view the location of bike sharing stations and view live information about the number of bikes and spaces available at each station.   

The Twin Cities Crime App is a really good example of how to visualize crime trends using Google Maps.

On initially loading the map the user is presented with a map of St Paul, Minneapolis. Neighborhoods on the map are shaded red or green to show where the weekly crime rate has risen or fallen. Users can then click on each neighborhood on the map to view all crimes for the week plotted on the map.

The Crime App includes a date control, which allows the user to view the crimes for any time period on the map. A bar graph above the map also visualizes the number of crimes by day to provide an overview of crime rates over the selected period of time.

This week I also would like to give It Happened Here an honourable mention. While It Happened Here can be a little confusing at first, and is missing a few important features, I do think it is a brilliant idea.

When you first load the map you are shown a location overlaid with a poignant memory that some one has left on the map. Click on the map and the word 'Where?' appears. This is the signal for you to add your own memory to the map.

Unfortunately once you enter your own poignant memory the experience finishes. You will need to refresh the browser to view another message. The map would work so much better if after you have left a message you then got the opportunity to browse other messages that have been left at other locations. 

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