Monday, January 31, 2011

UK Launches National Crime Map

A new national crime map has been released by the government in the UK. UK citizens, in England and Wales, can now search this Google Maps application to find what crimes have been committed in their neighbourhoods.

Previously UK police forces have been very reluctant to release the location of crimes beyond local ward level. The new map shows crime mapped to "an anonymous point on or near the road where they occurred." Individual addresses are not pinpointed on the map.

To search for crime in an area users can enter a postcode or an address. The map will then display the crimes committed in a radius of the submitted location. The maps include a pretty neat marker clustering system and the number of crimes are also broken down by category.


Google Maps Apps for Development

The World Bank's Apps for Development contest challenges developers to create innovative software applications "that move us a step closer toward solving some of the world's most pressing problems". Voting for the competition starts today.

Here is a quick run-down of some of the submitted apps that are using Google Maps.

Save the Rain

The World Bank Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) include a target to Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger by 2015. Water productivity is an essential key to help meet the World Bank's target.

This app allows you to calculate the water productivity potential of a rooftop anywhere in the world. Using the satellite imagery of Google Maps you can outline your roof and discover the average amount of rain the area receives in a year.

The application also calculates how many litres of rainwater you could harvest and the potential crops that you could grow.

MDG Maps

MDG Maps is a geovisulization tool for the Millenium Development Goals that uses Google Maps.

The application enables you to generate printable maps for the different MDG indicators. You can select any indicator from the map sidebar and the data will be displayed on the map. You can use the slider at the bottom of the map to select data for different years.

Clicking on a country will zoom in to the selected country and display printable charts for that country.

ReflexLearn is a very simple game that uses Google Maps to teach you some relevant facts about the World Bank's Millennium Development Goals.

Random markers are displayed on the map and your goal is to click on them as quickly as possible. When you click on a marker a relevant fact about the location is displayed and you average reaction time is calculated.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny


Google Maps and Dynamic Canvas Markers

London Cycle Hire Map

This Google Map shows the number of bikes available at each of the docking stations in the London Cycle Hire scheme.

Probably the most impressive thins about this map is the HTML5 canvas map markers. The markers on the map are custom overlays drawn using the canvas element. Drawing the markers rather than using static images allows the markers to visually represent the number of cycles available.

As well as indicating the location of a cycle station, each marker visually represents the station capacity (volume of the marker) and available cycles (amount of marker filled with red). The markers are redrawn every minute to show in near real-time the number of bikes available.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny


Share Your Location with Google Maps


Shaloc is a great iPhone app that lets you share your location with your friends for a limited period of time.

When you want to share your location the app detects your location and creates a short URL. You can then share the URL with your friends via text, email or tweet from within the app. When your friends open the URL from their phones or desktop they can then track your real-time location on a Google Map.

There are a number of privacy options on the app. You have the option to show only your last known location shared or you can choose to not show anything when the URL is accessed after you have stopped sharing. A new unique URL is also created every time you start sharing.

It is also possible to set a time after which the app will stop sharing your location. The app also has smart setup features which will automatically stop sharing your location when your phone’s battery falls below a specified value.

The application is currently in closed Beta but if you enter the invite code 'googlemapsmania' you can get early access to the app before it is fully released.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Arrange to Meet with Google Maps


Seetio is a new Google Maps based social network. 'Seetio' in Spanish is a homophone for 'sitio' which means 'place' and with this new social network you can save your favourite venues and arrange to meet at venues with your friends.

Seetio allows users to create collaborative events at any venue. Users can add Seetios or venues to Seetio by clicking on a Google Map and adding the appropriate information.

If you want to arrange to meet friends at a venue all you need to do is select a venue from the map and write a short message. You can then select which of your friends you want to invite or whether you want to send an open invitation.

You can log into Seetio with your Facebook account.


The Sunday Best

Give a Minute

My favourite map this week is this very clever campaign from Give a Minute. Using custom map tiles the map features user contributions dynamically loaded as post-it notes on a photograph of a notice board.

Very clever.

Locating the Protests in Cairo

This week has seen a flurry of news maps created to try and keep abreast of the unfolding events in Egypt. Not surprisingly one of the most accomplished of these comes from The New York Times.

Time Shutter

Time Shutter is another great Google Maps based website that allows people to see how cities used to look and how they have changed. Users can upload historical images to the site and browse through the images submitted by others.

Where it Went Down

The television programme Skins seems to be causing a bit of controversy in the USA right now. MTV are helping to push this edgy agenda with this Google Map that allows anyone to "share the places where memories were made - and the scattered pieces of nights you can’t really remember."

The map essentially allows users to boast about their drunken and sexual exploits.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Google Maps of the Egyptian Protests

Locating the Protests in Cairo

The New York Times has created a Google Map of some of the locations where protesters rioted and clashed with the police in Egypt on Friday.

The map includes brief summaries of the events and a number of photographs of the unfolding events.

Egypt Protest Videos

Mibazaar has created a video map of the events in Egypt. This Google Map includes the latest videos submitted to YouTube covering the protests.

The videos themselves are a mixture of reports from the world's news agencies and amateur videos shot by protesters themselves.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Google Map of Egyptian Protests

Aljazeera: Mapping Egypt's Day of Wrath

Aljeezeera are using Google Maps to provide up-to-date information about the geographic spread of today's protests in Egypt.

The website of Aljeezeera is displaying two maps, one that shows the location of protest locations in Cairo and the other showing the protests being held elsewhere in the country.

The maps are also accompanied by the video above which also uses Google Maps satellite imagery to provide some context about the locations of the protests.


The Wrath of Grapes on Google Maps

Where it Went Down

Ever had one of those mornings when you have woken-up hungover and a niggling feeling that you probably did something really stupid the night before? At some point during the day the memories start to come back and you begin to wish the earth would open you up and swallow you whole.

Really your only hope is that the rest of the world has suffered collective amnesia and that the whole episode will pass by unnoticed or at least unremarked.

Well MTV believe that rather than be embarrassed about your drunken exploits you should celebrate them and share them with the world on their 'Where it Went Down' Google Map.

To help promote the television season of Skins, MTV want you to "share the places where memories were made - and the scattered pieces of nights you can’t really remember."

And remember kids prospective employers are always really impressed when they Google your name and discover that you are capable of downing "16 bottles of vintage champagne" and then taking part in "a threesome, a foursome and ludicrous amounts of E."


Friday Fun with Google Maps

Street View Art

Photographer Michael Wolf is currently exhibiting at the Peurs sur la Ville exhibition at the Monnaie de Paris. His exhibition consists of a series of images collected from Google Street View.

Google API Periodic Table

I love this periodic table of all the Google API's. Not only does it look neat, it is pretty useful as well. Geo developers will be mostly interested in the blue API's, which are all geo related.

More Fun With Google Reviews

Google Maps in the UK is displaying a restaurant at the Houses of Parliament called the 'Cameron David' (David Cameron is the British Prime Minister). If you click on the icon there are a number of reviews. For example this handy guide on how to find the (non-existent) restaurant,

"Difficult to find. For those struggling to find David Cameron, walk towards Thatcher then take a sharp right."

Street View Hunting

Google Sightseeing have been Street View hunting and managed to bag this impressive looking reindeer in Norway.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get Google Maps New Imagery Alerts

Follow Your World

If you are keen to find out when the satellite imagery of your house is updated on Google Earth and Google Maps you can now get an e-mail alert.

Follow Your World uses Google Maps to enable you to register points of interest. Once you register, whenever the imagery is updated, you will be sent an email informing you of the changes.

Via: Google LatLong


Tweets on a Google Map

Seek A Tweet

Seek A Tweet is a Google Maps based site to search for Twitter messages by location.

To search for Tweets at a particular location you need to click on the map. The latest Twitter messages from that location are then loaded beneath the maps. The map includes a radius slider control so you are able to adjust the area you wish to search.

As well as the latest Tweets the profile picture of each person who has tweeted within the search radius appears beneath the map. By hovering over a picture, you can see where they are from.


Google Offers on Google Maps

The Washington Post has noticed that you can now find Google Offers on Google Maps. Google Offers seems to be Google's answer to Groupon.

Google presumably is working on a dedicated site for Google Offers and will have an official launch at some stage. However, if you can't wait, you can find special offers now by adding a Google Offers gadget to your iGoogle page.

The gadget lets you search a location for offers. You can also search for offers by a type, e.g. 'pizza', 'hotels' etc.


The Revolution Will Be Tweeted


Trendsmap is a great way to keep up with trending topics at different locations around the world.

The site uses Google Maps to show the latest Twitter trends wherever you choose to pan and zoom the map. The site is a great way to keep up with breaking developments and if you zoom into Egypt, or choose to search for the topic #egypt, you can use Trendsmap to keep up with the latest Tweets about the current protests in Cairo and other cities in Egypt.

Egypt Protest Tweets Map

Mibazaar has rolled out a Google Map to show the latest Tweets from the current protests in Egypt.

The Egypt Protest Tweets Map shows the latest tweets tagged with #egypt. The map animates through the latest tweets from the region at an interval of 5 seconds.


Public Sex Spots on Google Maps


Location sharing websites abound on the internet. You can share the location of your favorite restaurants, shops, bars and art galleries.

LovingPlaces however have spotted a gap in the market. So far no one has created a site where you can share the public spaces where you like to have sex. LovingPlaces have therefore filled the gap so that now you can share "the perfect places to be romantic with your girlfriend, partner, lover or significant other."

LovingPlaces uses Google Maps to show the locations submitted by lovers around the world. Using the map you can search for public spaces recommended by others and read their reviews, comment on the location and even get driving directions.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Foreclosure for Google Maps Real Estate

Google Maps users in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan until now have been able to search for real estate directly on Google Maps. However Google today announced that they are removing real estate results from Google Maps.

The search giant gives two main reasons behind the removal, low usage and the impending retirement of the Google Base API. Real estate will be discontinued on Google Maps on February 10, 2011.

Via: Google LatLong: Retiring real estate on Google Maps


A Customised Campaign with Google Maps

Give a Minute

Give a Minute has used the Google Maps API to create a very interesting campaign. The Give a Minute campaign is encouraging people to post ideas about how they can improve their cities.

The site contains four customised Google Maps, one each for Chicago, Memphis, New York and San Jose. Each map replaces the Google Map tiles with a custom image of the city. The latest ideas submitted to the site are then overlaid on the image in the form of post-it notes.

Using the usual Google Maps navigation controls you can zoom in and read any of the submitted ideas. You can also order the ideas by 'most recent' and 'most shared'.


View Snow Depths on Google Maps

Snowdepth Map

This Google Map shows the snow depths at European ski resorts.

The map uses colored map markers to show at a glance the depth of the snow at different resorts. If you click on a resort's map marker you can click through to view a full snow report for the selected resort.

The same site also provides a Google Map of the current weather conditions. This map includes options to view today's and tomorrow's weather conditions at European ski resorts.


Help a Toad Across a Road?

Frog Life

Frog Life has used the Google Spreadsheets Map Gadget to create a Google Map of toad migration routes in the UK. The map is designed to highlight locations where toads could encounter problems crossing roads during the spring breeding season.

The map shows places where toads are known to cross roads. It provides information on whether road signs or volunteer crossing schemes are in place at each location and provides contact information for those who wish to volunteer to help toads cross roads during the breeding season.

Via: BBC


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The World's Newspapers on Google Maps


This Google Map provides a great way to browse nearly 10,000 of the world's newspapers.

The newspapers are categorised on the map by language. Each information window contains links to the websites of the listed newspapers and to read the papers through Google Translate.

If you visit the site on your mobile you can view a special Google Map customised for phones. The mobile site has been built with the jQuery Mobile framework so will work on most mobile phones.


Ye Olde San Francisco on Google Maps

Time Shutter

Time Shutter is another great Google Maps based website that allows people to see how cities used to look and how they have changed. Users can upload historical images to the site and browse through the images submitted by others.

Currently the site is concentrating on historical images of San Francisco but images for New York will also soon be added. The site includes many postcards of San Francisco from around 1900 and includes a historical map overlay featuring the Chevalier Commercial, Pictorial and Tourist Map of San Francisco from 1903.

Time Shutter is also available as a free iPhone application.


A Google Maps Guide to Hotels in Lima

Here is the first ever Peruvian Google Maps mashup to feature on Google Maps Mania. Being one-eighth Peruvian myself I hope it is only the first of many. is a Google Maps based guide to hotels in Lima. The map allows you to search for hotels by location and order the results by price or by the hotel's rating.

If you click on a hotel's map marker you can get details about the services provided, the address of the hotel, a link to the hotel's website and view the hotel's rating.


Rail Complaints on Google Maps

UK Rail Tweet Map

Until now there has been no way to visualise the dawn chorus of complaining commuters. Hurrah then, for the #ukrailtweetmap, which is trying to do for public transport what #UKSnow did for the weather.

Judging by my Twitter stream, micro-blogging services were invented to give passengers a means to vent their anger at delays on the public transportation system.

This Google Map of Tweets with the hashtag '#ukrailtweetmap' shows the location and the messages of people who have tweeted about their journey on the UK train network. To add a tweet to the map, use the hashtag #ukrailtweetmap and specify the nearest train station.

Now, to find out about the latest delays to the UK railways, you just need to fire up this Google Map and read all the submitted complaints.

Via: @psychemedia


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Top 5 Historical Photograph Maps

What Was There

What Was There uses Google Maps to show historical photographs in their modern physical context.

Anyone can upload a photograph to What Was There with two straightforward tags to show the pictures location and date. The fun however really comes from browsing the uploaded photographs superimposed on the modern view in Street View.

What Was There includes a slider that allows you to adjust the transparency of the photograph. This really helps in allowing you to compare the photo to the current Street View.


This joint effort from Google and We Are What We Do allows anyone to add historical photographs to Google Maps.

Historypin includes a great interface allowing users to superimpose a photo on the Street View of the location shown in the picture. When users upload photographs to the site they are invited to tell the stories behind the pictures. This makes browsing the uploaded photographs a fascinating experience.


SepiaTown is a website that geo-tags historical photographs on Google Maps.

You can search the map by location and the thumbnails of available historical photographs will be displayed on the Google Map. You can click on a thumbnail image to see a larger version with file and credit information, as well as notes and commentary.

If you have your own historical photographs you can add them to the map.


LookBackMaps is a collection of historical photographs that can be compared to the same current view as seen on Google Maps Street View.

The photographs are geotagged and displayed on a Google Map. Users of the map can select a date range for the photographs that they wish to view. To view a photograph alongside the current Street View just click on any of the pictures inside the information windows.

To add your own historical photographs to the map you just need to register with LookBackMaps.

The Flat Iron Building in 1903
HistoGrafica is an on-line community whose aim is to show in pictures how the world has changed through time. In essence HistoGrafica is an archive of old photographs and pictures tagged on a Google Map.

Bonus Map

There and Then

'There and Then' is my attempt to create a map based portal to view some historical films, uploaded to YouTube, superimposed over their current Street View.

When you select to view a particular Street View you need to use the buttons beneath the map to control the embedded video.


Your Twitter Followers on Google Maps

Your Twitter Followers Mapped

Here's a cool way to view what your Twitter followers are saying, on a Google Map. Your Twitter Followers Mapped animates through the latest Tweets from people you follow on Twitter.

To view your followers on the map just change the name in the URL to your Twitter user name. Once the page loads the map will then animate through the latest messages from your followers. You can then just sit back and watch.

Also See

Map My Following
An application that lets you view on a Google Map the locations of people who follow you on Twitter.


Google Map of Sexual Harassment in Cairo


HarasssMap is using the Ushahidi incident reporting platform to provide a Google Map of sexual harassment incidents in Egypt.

The project has been created by volunteers with expertise in the issue of sexual harassment in Egypt and the aim is to implement a new system for reporting cases of sexual harassment via SMS messaging.

The Ushahidi platform has been used as it provides a confidential means for women to report incidents and provides a Google Map visualisation of the seriousness and prevalence of the problem.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cycle the Alps with Street View

Cycling the Alps

Cycling the Alps is a Google Map with a lot of information and some very nice features for anyone who is interested in cycling the Alps.

The application has featured on Google Maps Mania in the past but has recently added some nice Street View tours using the Directions Map widget wizard.

If you fancy a relaxing virtual Sunday cycle ride through the Alps then check out these two trips:



The Sunday Best

The weekly round-up of the best Google Maps to feature on Google Maps Mania in the previous week:


Look out newspapers - local collaborative community news sites just keep getting better. Canada's OpenFile, currently reporting on Vancouver, Hamilton, Toronto and Ottawa, is one of the best crowdsourced local news sites to enter the field.

One reason for its success is the use of Google Maps to visualise local data sets.

Fish Fight MackMap

In the UK broadcaster Channel 4 are backing a campaign to persuade Britain's fish & chip shops to put mackerel on the menu alongside the traditional cod & chips.

The site is a great example of how Google Maps can be used to support a national campaign,


The Location Based Social Networking market is very crowded now. New startups have to carve out a niche in a market already dominated by Foursquare, Gowalla et al.

LikeOurselves just might succeed in competing with the big players, where others have failed, by concentrating on the networking aspect of location sharing. LikeOurselves seems to be much more focused on helping users connect with others and finding other users who share the same interests than other location based social networks.

MDG Maps

MDG Maps is a Google Maps based geovisulisation tool for the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals are indicators which were agreed by leaders from 189 nations to ensure: a world with less poverty, hunger and disease, greater survival prospects for mothers and their infants, better educated children, equal opportunities for women, and a healthier environment.

What really impresses me with this Google Map is the huge amount of data that can be visualised.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Google Map of Canadian Baby Names

The OpenFile - Baby File

Canada's new collaborative news site OpenFile has created a number of Google Maps displaying the most popular baby names in Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton-Niagara (2005-2009).

On each of the maps you can click on a postal area and view the top five baby names for boys and girls in the area. Some areas have fewer than five boys' or girls' names, and some have none of either. These areas tend to be either non-residential or low-population districts, or simply have no names that are more popular than others.

Accompanying the maps are a couple of interesting articles 'Why Tenzin reigns in Parkdale' and 'Why Gurleen, and Jayden, and Muhammad, and Joshua rule in Malton'.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Google Maps Adds A Fuel Cost Calculator

Google Maps has added a fuel cost calculator to driving directions on Google Maps in Europe. At the moment the estimated fuel costs seem to only appear in driving directions in Europe and not in the USA, Canada nor Australia.

The fuel cost estimation appears at the bottom of the driving directions in the map sidebar. If you click on the estimation a calculator opens allowing you to adjust the price, the type of vehicle you drive or switch between petrol and diesel.


The Big Blue Marble on Google Maps

Earth Snapshot

Earth Snapshot is a website dedicated to the observation of the Earth. The site posts daily satellite images and provides information on storms, hurricanes, fires and meteorological phenomena.

The website includes a map created with the Google Maps API and satellite images from the Envisat satellite. The map also includes map markers to show the location of the last 100 articles on Earth Snapshot.

The articles take a closer look at the most interesting of the latest satellite images. The map markers are categorised to indicate if the related article concerns the weather, environment or a fire etc.


Friday Fun with Google Maps

Subway Symphony Map

Alexander Chen has built a New York subway map in HTML5 and Javascript. That in itself is impressive but Alexander has improved on Vignelli's subway map by turning the subway lines into the strings of a musical instrument. The strings are played by the movement of the subway trains.

Atlantis Found on Street View

Weekly World News claim to have found the lost city of Atlantis on Google Maps. Whatever you think of Weekly World News' Photoshop skills their claim is at least more convincing than this attempt by the British newspaper The Sun to claim to have found Atlantis in Google Maps' bathymetry imagery.

MacGyver - How to use a Map
In this episode of MacGyver the eponymous hero shows us why Google Maps will never fully replace the good old traditional paper map.

Via: @druidsmith


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Community News on Google Maps


OpenFile is a new collaborative community news site for Canada. Anyone can submit a story to OpenFile and reporters are then assigned to the story. However anyone can add comments, images, video and helpful links to the story.

Currently OpenFile covers four cities: Vancouver, Hamilton, Toronto and Ottawa. The dedicated page for each city includes a Google Map that shows the location of the user submitted stories.

If you select any of the map markers you can then click through to read the story in full. The web page for each story also includes a smaller Google Map highlighting the location of the story.