Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Maps of the Week

Do you want to know where your message in a bottle will turn up or track down the path of local floating pollution? Adrift is a Google Map that can show you how all kinds of objects drift on ocean currents.

The map uses data from observed tracks revealed by buoys in the Global Drifter Program and from other scientific research into ocean currents to predict where an object(s) will end up. Just place your rubber duck anywhere on the map (in the ocean obviously) and the map will animate where your duck is likely to drift.

Despite the whimsical use of the rubber duck this map has a very serious purpose. Plastic litter is one of the biggest problems in the oceans and the map provides a great visualization of how this litter can spread through the oceans and harm sea-life.

This week Google Japan released Minchizu, a new Google Maps based web app that showcases pictures submitted by photo communities on Google+.

There are Minchizu maps for 48 different Google+ communities, including ones for fans of Japanese castles and shrines and temples. To contribute a photo to any of the maps users have to join the relevant Google+ group and add the #Minchizu hashtag when they post their geotagged photo.

Photo sharing is one of the most successful areas in Google's social network and Minchizu is a great way to showcase the photos of Google+ communities. With Google's relentless push to establish Google+ I wouldn't be surprised to see Minchizu spread to other countries and Google+ communities.

Roadli is a handy Google Map for finding stops along a driving route.

Say you plan to drive from San Francisco to Palo Alto and fancy a pizza along the way. You just need to enter your starting point and destination, enter 'pizza restaurant' and Roadli will display a suggested driving route with pizza restaurants along the way.

The restaurants (or whatever kind of business you wish to stop at) are also listed under the map and each restaurant includes the time that you will have to add to your journey to detour to this location. The Roadli app uses the Google Places API so it should work anywhere in the world.

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