Friday, December 31, 2010

A Google Maps Hangover Cure

HMSG Spiral Map

You might want to save this sound map for tomorrow when you are a little hungover. The Hudson Mohawk Sound Gate Spiral Map is a virtual walk around the Capital District of New York featuring sound and video. And it could just be the perfect ambient mood shift that you will need after your exertions tonight on New Year's Eve.

For the project one minute videos and sound recordings were made at a number of locations. Each recording is synced to the relevant location on a Google Map. Once the application has loaded all you need to do is press play. You can then sit back and watch and listen as you are taken on a spiral path through New York's Capital District.



New Year's Mashups on Google Maps

Map Clock
Use this Google Map to find out whereabouts in the world it is midnight right now. This ingenious Google Map has an embedded clock that changes to show the time in the current map view.

The map sidebar includes some quick links to find the time in cities around the world.

World Webcams
Times Square Live Streaming Cam
This live streaming webcam of Times Square has a lot of different views, so you should catch all of the midnight action.

Nasdaq Times Square Live Streaming Cam (Windows Media Player link)
This live streaming webcam is centred on the Nasdaq Market Site Tower on Times Square.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
This live streaming cam of Sydney Harbour should catch the Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks.

Grand Place, Brussels Live Streaming Cam
This streaming webcam has a great view of the Grand Place in Brussels.

Google Maps Mashups to help you ring in the New Year:

Google Earth Flight Simulator

GE Flight Simulator (0.4)

GE Flight Simulator is a very realistic flight simulation game that uses the Google Earth plugin.

Using the simulation you can fly anywhere in the world. The simulation uses Google Maps to display and help you navigate to over 30,000 airports around the world. To view the map in flight just click the "show map" button in the option bar.

If you click on any of the displayed airports you can choose to fly from or fly to the selected airport. In "Aeronautical" mode, the map also shows a layer of airspace areas. This overlay has been generated using DAFIF data.

You can also view the map of the 30,000 airports on its own here.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Regifting with Google Maps

Gift A Stranger

Here is the perfect application to get rid of all those unwanted Christmas presents and to partake in a random of act of kindness at the same time. Gift A Stranger uses Google Maps to produce a random address that you can then use to send a gift.

To send a gift to a random stranger simply click 'send gift'. Gift a Stranger then gives you a random address somewhere in the world that you can then use to send your gift.

You can also browse the map to view the locations of gifts sent by other users. If you click on any of the map markers the map zooms to the chosen location and displays a picture of the gift that was sent to this location.


911 on Google Maps


Incident1 uses Google Maps to plot police, fire, and emergency incidents from around the nation. The map shows the most recent incidents for your area.

Incident1 shows data from multiple agencies on one map, and it lets you search by zip code and region.

Gothamist NYC Incident Map

The Gothamist uses Google Maps to plot the locations of crimes, fires, accidents and other incidents in New York City. Think of it as police scanner chat.. mapped. Map pins include police, fire and 'exclamation point signs'.


If you live in New England you can view the latest New England incidents on this Google Map. You can search the map by state, city or street name.

Seattle 911 Calls

This site uses live data publicly available on the Seattle Fire Dept. web site to show Seattle 911 calls live on Google Maps.

Fire Incident Map
The City of Nanaimo have integrated their Fire Incident Report with Google Maps. This allows the citizens of Nanaimo (or anyone else) to query the city’s Fire Incident Report and see the results on a map. The map shows the location of incidents and the apparatus that the fire deployment deployed.


George Clooney's Eye on Sudan

Satellite Sentinel Project

A joint project by the U.N.'s Operational Satellite Applications Programme, Harvard University and the Enough Project hopes to stop the tensions between South and North Sudan developing into war.

Inspired by an idea by George Clooney and John Prendergast the project is buying satellite imagery to monitor troop movements in the region. George Clooney says that using satellite imagery,

"We can witness in near real-time and put all parties on notice that if they commit war crimes, we will all be watching, and pressuring policymakers to take action."

The Satellite Sentinel Project has developed a mapping system which will combine satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google Maps to help deter the resumption of war between North and South Sudan.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Six Degrees of Separation on Google Maps


Digrii is a social network that allows you to discover the degrees of separation between you and the rest of the world. Digrii works on the six degrees of separation theory.

Once you become a member of digrii you can discover your degrees of separation with people all over the world on a Google Map. Your connections are shown on the map by lines connecting you with other members you know. Digrii will also tell you how many people there are between you and other people.


Defeating Snowmageddon with Google Maps

Mapping the Storm Clean-up

New York radio station WNYC has created a Google Map for listeners to share whether their streets have been snow ploughed or not. The resulting map shows at a glance which streets have been ploughed and which are still unploughed.

The purple map markers indicate streets and neighborhoods that have been ploughed and the white markers show roads still covered by snow. You can contribute to the information displayed on the map by texting PLOW to 30644.

Snowmageddon Cleanup - New York

Ryan Ozimek, of PICnet, has used the crowdsourcing mapping tool Ushahidi to create two maps to help clean-up after the US snow storms.

Snowmageddon Cleanup - New York and Snowmageddon Cleanup - Boston both allow anyone to report problems, offer help or find help to problems created by the recent snow.

So if you willing to help your fellow neighbor dig out a car, shovel a sidewalk or salt a driveway you can advertise your services on these Google Maps. Conversely if you need a little help with your snow clean-up you can ask for your neigbors' help but adding a report to the relevant map.

Via: ReadWriteWeb


Instant Street View Postcards


This handy Google Maps application is just what you need if you want to share the Street View image of a location with your friends.

ShowMyStreet uses instant search to portray the Street View of a typed location. Like Google's Instant Search ShowMyStreet predicts as you type to show you the Street View of the current best guess. For example, if you want the Street View of Mission Street in San Francisco, the suggested locations go through a few permutations (e.g. Mission Viejo) until ShowMyStreet guesses correctly at 'Mission S'.

Once you have the correct Street View you can then share the location via Twitter and Facebook or e-mail the short URL. If a Street View isn't available for your current location you can share the satellite image of the location instead.

I can see myself using this map quite a bit from my mobile phone to share the Street View of my current location with friends.

Also See

Google Maps - From 0 to Instant - a Google Map with instant search.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

View Facebook Checkins with Google Maps


CheckinSpy lets you view your friends Facebook check-ins on Google Maps.

The application allows Facebook users to view their own check-ins and those made by their Facebook friends directly on a Google Map. You can select to view your own check-ins from the menu bar at the top of the map. Alternatively you can view all your friends or select an individual friend's check-ins.

All recent check-ins are displayed on the map with orange map markers. If you click on the marker you can view the date of the check-in and view the location with Street View.


Simulate Forest Fires with Google Maps


The French national research agency CNRS have used Google Maps to create an impressive forest fire simulator.

Using the simulator it is possible to select a location on the map as the centre of the fire simulation. Before running the simulator you can also adjust the wind speed and direction. The simulation itself takes lots of data into account, including fuel, roads and elevation.

Currently the data is only available for Corsica so the simulator will only work properly on this Mediterranean island.

Via: Google Earth Blog


Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone

Pegman Decoration

Pegman, the Google Maps Street View character, has gone all festive. For the holidays Pegman has donned his Santa Claus hat.

On which note don't forget to track Santa Claus today with the NORAD Santa Tracker.

The Santa Tracker is now live and shows Santa's current position on a Google Map. This year NORAD have even added a Santa Cam to the map.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Best Google Maps of 2010

Over the last year I have written about over one thousand new Google Maps mashups. It is therefore very difficult to pick out my favourite maps from so many astounding projects.

In 2008 Ushahidi, the map reporting system, was my Map of the Year. Since then Ushaidi has gone on to become an essential mapping tool for hundreds of groups and communities around the world. My favourite map of 2009 was probably #UKSnow. Ben Marsh's map of Tweets mentioning snow is still hugely popular (you just need to check out the activity on the map this week to see how it has grabbed the imagination of so many people).

Here then is my (very personal) pick of 2010:

BBC Dimensions

The BBC Dimensions site is probably my favourite Google Maps project of the year. The site lets you overlay historical landmarks and events over other locations on a Google Map, for example the screenshot above shows the Great Wall of China as it would look if it was in the USA.

The idea itself isn't new. and Paul Rademacher's How Big is the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill? both produced comparative maps before BBC Dimensions. However the scope of BBC Dimensions is truly impressive. The site has a vast range of important places, events and things, which you can overlay onto a map of where you are.


I could be showing my patriotism here but another Google Map from UK developers pushes the BBC Dimensions site close as my favourite map of the year.

HistoryPin overlays (mainly historical) photographs on top of Street View. If you haven't checked out this map before you should definitely give it a look. I promise you hours of fun.


If you live in Philadelphia you should definitely let CommonSpace try to find you a great night out for you and your friends. CommonSpace lets you add multiple starting points to a Google Map and then finds things to do in areas that are convenient for you and your friends.

Essentially the map finds the most convenient location for a group of friends to meet (based on distance) and suggests possible venues based on your preferences.


Philadelphia was also blessed this year with the incredible PhilaPlace. PhilaPlace is an interactive website, created by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, that connects stories to places across time in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The map includes an incredible wealth of information about Pennsylvania's past told through first person memories, videos and photographs.

Going the Distance - The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal have created an impressive site that maps the New York, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago marathon routes. Each route includes Street View and elevation charts.

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block

A special mention must go to the New York Times. As well as this awesome map of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey the New York Times this year also created a number of other great Google Maps. A Peek Into Netflix Queues, NY Times Best Places to Go in 2010 and Tracking Taxi Flow are just three of the other Google Maps produced by the NY Times that caught my eye this year.

I'm sure I've overlooked many other great Google Maps produced this year. So what have I missed? Feel free to post your favorite maps of 2010 in the comments below.


The Secret Dead-Drops on Google Maps

Dead Drops

Dead Drops is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network involving the use of USB flash drives planted in public spaces. The USB drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs and anyone can plug in their laptop to download or upload files.

If you are curious about the project and want to participate you can find the nearest USB drive by checking the Dead Drop Google Map. The map shows the location of all the public drives in the Dead Drop database.


Living in Toronto, Looking for a Condo


TheRedPin is Toronto and the GTA's first one-stop condo destination, where condo buyers can find all project details, such as floor plans, amenities, model suites and more. On top of the project details, buyers also have access to a wealth of neighbourhood information, such as nearby schools and daycares, investment stats and neighbourhood amenities.

You can search for a condo using TheRedPin Google Map. You can search by location, price and by number of bed and bathrooms. TheRedPin also uses Google Maps to provide local amenity information as well as sales office directions for each condo project


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Local News & Events with Google Maps


Australian website EveryMap is a local report website that allows people to share what is happening or has happened locally.

Users of EveryMap can submit reports on anything from upcoming local events, local news, problems that need fixing to their favourite bars and restaurants. Submitted reports are then added to a Google Map.

It is possible to search the reports posted to the map by category and by time. EveryMap includes a very useful timeline function that allows you to adjust the reports shown on the map by a starting and closing date.


Finding Hiking Trails with Google Maps


TrailHeadFinder, the hiking trail directory, has released a mobile version of its Google Map of trails and campgrounds.

Using the application from your phone it is possible to find the nearest trails and camping grounds to your nearest location.

The difficulty of trails are indicated by the colour of the map marker on the map. Red markers indicate strenuous trails, yellow markers show intermediate trails and green markers show that the trail is fairly easy.


Australian Budget Travel with Google Maps - Tourism Map

A report (PDF) published by shows where to find the cheapest holiday accommodation in each state and territory in Australia. The report is accompanied by an online Google Map illustrating the report's findings.

The report is particularly useful for budget conscious travellers who could make substantial savings if they aren't fixed on specific locations. For example, in Queensland, Fraser Coast north of Brisbane offers much better prices than adjoining Sunshine Coast (which is almost 50% more expensive) and the Gold Coast (approximately 35% more expensive).

The researchers examined average takings per night by accredited accommodation service providers in each tourism region around Australia and mapped out the results. The outcome is a colourful map matrix that highlights regions with both the cheapest and the most expensive accommodation.

On a state and territory basis, Tasmania has the cheapest accommodation while the Australian Capital Territory is comparatively the most expensive ($128 and $163 respectively). The cheapest region in Australia goes to Victoria's Wimmera region, which has an average accommodation cost of just $83.82 per night. Close second is South Australia's Yorke Peninsula ($85.36), followed by Northern Territory's Barkly ($87.98), Victoria's Upper Yarra ($90.48) and Outback NSW ($93.14).


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Orleans Gets Birds Eye View

New Orleans is now covered by Google Maps' oblique satellite views. I'm sure there must be more cities that have been recently added but New Orleans is the only one I've found so far.

This Google Map shows the cities around the world that Google have aerial views for (New Orleans has yet to be added). I've updated my Aerial View Map to include aerial imagery of the Louisiana Superdome and Jackson Square in New Orleans.

I've also updated the Bird's Eye View with the new imagery. This map allows you to compare Bing Maps' Bird's Eye View side by side with Google Maps' aerial view.


The Google Map of Love's Labour's Lost

You Were Cute

So you have this crush on the guy / girl of your dreams but you can never conjure up the courage to ask them out.

What do you do?

Well, you could try You Were Cute, a new Google Map application that hopes to help you with your missed connections. You can add a message to the Crush Map at any location simply be completing a short form.

Hopefully the object of your crush will then find your message on the map, reciprocate in kind and, well, the rest is really up to you.

I do love this Google Map. It is such a simple idea brilliantly executed, with just the right note of poignancy.


Create a Google Map in 60 Seconds


Mapbiquity is a Google Maps based creation tool that can help you create a Google Map for your website.

Mapbiquity helps you build a map with your own data. To create a map all you really need to do is upload some Shapefile data. You can then style the map to fit the design of your website.

When you have completed you map you can then add it to your site by cutting and pasting a short piece of code.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Where Will You Watch the Lunar Eclipse?

Event Map: Where Will You Be?

NASA have created a Google Map so that you can share where you will be watching tonight's total lunar eclipse. NASA hopes to build a community of moon-gazers across the country by everyone sharing their lunar eclipse viewing spots, comments and photos.

You can add yourself to the moon-gazing map by entering your 10-digit cell phone number on the NASA website. NASA will then text you with tips and resources for viewing the eclipse. You can then text NASA your zip code and they will add you to the map.

Remember you can also tune into NASA's live video feed of the eclipse and view a simulation of the eclipse on the Google Earth browser with HeyWhatsThat's Event Map: Where Will You Be?


Telling Stories with Google Maps


MapSkip is an interesting Google Map that allows users to map stories about places. The stories can be about the place you fell in love, where you had a dream vacation or where you took a great picture. Alternatively your stories can be about the places that are important in your life, such as where you live, eat, work and have fun.

MapSkip has a community of over 1,000 registered users and has mapped over 1,200 stories. MapSkip is particularly popular with many schools and teachers. The site allows teachers to create student accounts and adjust settings so that students' work is not visible to others. A Teacher's Interface also allows teachers to review stories submitted by their students.

The MapSkip map of submitted stories can be filtered to show only your added stories and places, to display only your favourited stories, or only stories that have sound or video.


Regional Accents on Google Maps

Map Your Voice

The British Library has created a Google Map to record and map English accents around the world.

The British Library are asking people all over the world to read and record the children's story 'Mr. Tickle' by Roger Hargreaves. The story has been chosen for the range of English sounds it contains when read out loud.

You can listen to the recordings already made by clicking on the map markers on the map and pressing play on the embedded audio player.

This isn't the first sound map produced by The British Library. The UK SoundMap is a Google Map of soundscapes captured around the UK.

Via: ReadWriteWeb


Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Lunar Eclipse Simulator

HeyWhatsThat: Eclipses

Early in the morning of December the 21st, on the winter solstice, there will be a total lunar eclipse. If you live in North America you should have great views of the eclipse. If you live in Western Europe you should be able to see the beginning of the eclipse.

HeyWhatsThat: Eclipses uses the Google Earth plug-in to simulate solar and lunar eclipses. Using Eclipses you can watch a simulation of the lunar eclipse from your location. Use the timeline beneath the Google Earth plug-in to view the eclipse at different times during the night.

If you live in the southern hemisphere you can enjoy the summer solstice. However you can also tune into NASA's live video feed of the eclipse.


Create a Google Map in 60 Seconds

If you need to create a simple Google Map then can help. Using this map creator you can create an embeddable map for your website in a matter of seconds.

To create a map you just need to enter a location. A Google Map showing the location is then displayed with the code to embed the map on a website. If the location needs adjusting you can drag the map marker to the correct position. also allows you to adjust the height and width of your map, set the map type, the zoom level and adjust the map border.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Antique Map for your iPhone

The Cartographer

The Cartographer is an iPhone app that combines an antique map style with custom Google My Maps viewing and editing.

The unique selling point of The Cartographer has to be its unique antique map design but it also has a number of other useful features. The Cartographer syncs well with Google My Maps. You can create Google My Maps from your desktop and the resulting maps can be effortlessly accessed and edited on the iPhone.

Users can also access The Cartographer offline and so avoid data and roaming charges.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Fun with Google Maps

Google Maps FAIL

I find this very hard to believe - apparently Google Maps occasionally makes mistakes. Google Maps FAIL is dedicated to exposing the sometimes hilarious errors in Google Maps.

Fail Maps is another nice blog highlighting the mistakes made in maps.

Google Demo Slam
These two videos, featured on Google Demo Slam, caught my eye this week.

Hat-tip: @geoparadigm

Map Ties

I've had to wear a tie a couple of times in my life. It's not an experience I want to repeat. But if you do force me then I want to wear one of these natty numbers.


Great British Google Maps Round-Up

Great British Life

Great British Life is a website that celebrates everything that is great about Great Britain. This celebration includes a Google Map that allow readers to browse restaurant reviews, upcoming events and reader's photographs by location.

It is possible to filter the map by 'articles', 'events', 'photos' and 'blogs'. If you click on a map marker you can read a brief review and view ratings. Each window also includes a link to read the full article.

LiveMap Devon

Prolific Google Maps developer Colin Johnson has produced a number of UK based Google Maps under the LiveMaps label.

This Google Map details events in the county of Devon, featuring Town Shows, Carnivals, Farmers Markets etc. The map displays events for the next three months. The map also links to a Devon Live Entertainment page which features the leading theatres and venues in the region, a Devon Attractions site detailing a wide variety of things to do and places to visit and a Devon Holiday Accommodation page.

LiveMap English Football Ground Guide
This Google Map is a guide to the soccer clubs in the top 16 divisions of English football.

LiveMap RoadworksLiveMap Lincoln Essentials
This Google Map is a directory with a difference. Detailing a range of useful locations such as car parks, cash machines, recycling banks, post offices in the city of Lincoln

LiveMap Wildlife Parks
LiveMap Wildlife Parks plots the location of over 130 zoos, safari parks, butterfly farms and other wildlife attractions throughout the UK.

LiveMap Theatres & Venues
Details hundreds of theatres and live entertainment venues throughout the UK.

Citizens Report UK
Citizens Report UK, a website dedicated to helping citizens improve their personal safety, uses Google Maps to help report on many safety and crime issues in the UK. A couple of weeks ago Google Maps Mania featured the Citizens Report UK map of British Road Casualties 2008 & 2009.

Interactive Map of Recorded Offence

This Google Map uses Fusion Tables plots Recorded Offence Volumes in the Local Authorities of England and Wales - from 2003 to 2010.

The map makes great use of the Fusion Tables queries function. It is possible to refine the results shown on the map by offence, date and region.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Indiana Jones Map Effect

Spirit of Indiana

Do you remember the travel/flight sequences in the Indiana Jones movies? remember them so fondly that they decided to recreate the effect with Google Maps and a YouTube video. The result is pretty awesome as you can see in the video above or see for yourself on the demo page.

Now you've seen it I bet you want to recreate it yourself. Luckily have also written up a full tutorial on how they created the application.


Mapping the Human Body

Google Body Browser

After Google has mapped the Earth, the moon and the night sky it seems that the only thing left was the human body. Google Labs have just released the Google Body Browser that lets you explore the body.

Users of Google Maps will be familiar with the navigation controls in Google Body Browser. The application uses the same zoom and panning controls as Google Maps. The application also includes a search function so that you can view specific body parts. The application even features a dynamic URL so that you can link to any body view.

Google Body Browser will work on any WebGL supported browser, for example Google Chrome.


Google Maps Xmas Cards

Happy Holidays from Google Maps

The Google Maps team have released a new application that lets you create and e-mail Christmas cards featuring your favourite Google Maps images. Your card can feature one of ten holiday covers, a personal message and a Street View image or a favorite place on the inside of the card.

Creating a card is very easy. All you have to do is choose your card cover, select your preferred map or Street View and add your personal message. Once completed you can send your card to up to ten recipients.

Via: Official Google Blog


5 Chrome Web Store Google Maps

Google's new Chrome Web Store is an online marketplace for web apps, extensions, and themes for Google Chrome. The Google Geo Developers Blog has just posted a round-up of some of the best Google Maps based apps available from the store.


TripTrace organizes all the important places that you’ve been or think you might want to visit; perfect for local exploration or vacation planning. With a simple and engaging experience, TripTrace merges photos, events, and news with your personal address book, check-ins, bookmarked webpages and more.

In a single map, see:

• Where your friends have checked-in in the city you’re visiting.
• What events are near the convention center.
• Is that new restaurant is near that place we used to go?
• What are good hotels near Bill’s house?


View Wikipedia articles related to any geographical location.


Breadcrumbs is an online web application that allows users to visualize (in 3D), organize, edit and share their GPS data and associated photos/videos. The application can be used to track any outdoor activity, from hiking to sightseeing.

Delta Embark

Embark is an online travel guide optimized for Google Chrome. The app provides Google Map based recommendations for:

Dining – Taste the best in town, from burgers to haute cuisine.
Nightlife – Find your vibe among the city’s clubs and bars.
Shopping – Buy your souvenirs where the locals shop.
Bucket List – Here’s what you just can’t miss.
Calendar – Plan a trip around upcoming events.
Insider – Get transit, packing, and other tips.


View your weather and get the latest local current conditions, forecast and more for thousands of locations around the world with this web app.

Via: Google Geo Developers Blog


Historical Map Overlays

Building Historical Maps

Amherst College are working on a mapping project called Cityscapes. Cityscapes is a tool to allow students to collaborate in their studies. I think the idea of the project is to create an application that students can use to easily add markers, photos, videos and other content to a shared Google Map.

Currently there are two working demos of the project:

Tokyo Demo
Paris Demo

The two demos allow you to overlay historical maps of Tokyo and Paris on top of Google Maps. The Tokyo demo is supposedly password protected, for copyright reasons, but I found just pressing cancel on the log-in worked for me ;)

Via: @geoparadigm


The Killer App for your Smart Phone


SightSpaceStation, the amazing satellite tracking website that allows anyone to track satellites in Google Street View, is now also available for the iPhone, iPad, iTouch and Android phones.

The app uses augmented reality and Google Maps to show the real-time location of orbiting satellites. The app is also packed full of other interesting features (view the video above).

If you get a smart phone for Christmas and you want to show off to your friends then get the SightSpaceStation app. In my opinion it is one of the killer apps for Android and iPhones.

iTunes Link


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The American Community Survey Mapped

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block

The New York Times consistently produces superb Google Maps to illustrate geographically related new stories. Today The Times has released a series of Google Maps that allows users to browse local data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, based on samples from 2005 to 2009.

The maps are categorised into a number of different collections, 'Race and Ethnicity', 'Income', 'Housing and Families' and 'Education'. Each map includes a search function that allows you to search by address or zip code.

To accompany the maps The Times have written an article looking at 'A Sampling of Highs and Lows From Around the Country'.