Sunday, October 16, 2011

Google Maps of the Week

This week's Google Map of the Week has to go to Google Maps itself. Or more exactly to Google Maps in WebGL.

If you haven't already seen the future of Google Maps then open up Chrome 14+ or Firefox 8+ (the Dev Channel release of Firefox). You should then see a "Want to try something new?" link in the left-hand sidebar of Google Maps. Click the link and you can view Google Maps with WebGL.

You can preview the impressive transitions in aerial view and Street View in the video below.



Another great feature in Google Maps in WebGL is the 3D buildings. Check out how the perspective of the buildings change as you pan the map around. Also check out the building shadows which are astronomically accurate and appear based on the time of day and current location of the sun (so will vary depending on the location on the Earth).

Swisstrains

An honourable mention also has to go to Swisstrains this week. The awesome Swisstrains has open-sourced all the code you need to create your own animated vehicle simulator with Google Maps.

Swisstrains use the timetables of the Swiss Federal Railways to create a simulated real-time map of the Swiss rail network. Using the map you can view the network's trains moving around Switzerland live on a Google Map.

Now you can create your own simulated vehicle simulator with the help of the code, available from GitHub. To create your own simulated network you will also need to plot your track / road network and the vehicle timetables in JSON format.

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