Saturday, March 31, 2012

8-bit Google Maps Hacked

At the risk of getting into all sorts of trouble I've hacked Google's new 8-bit Google Maps April Fool.

8-bit Map uses the 8-Bit map tiles with the Google Maps API. I've added a few links beneath the map to showcase some of the landmarks Google have included around the world.

If Google allow map developers to use the map tiles then I'm sure we could see some awesome games built on top of the 8-bit map.

The new 8-bit map also has a number of characters from Dragon Warrior dotted around the world. Whilst I was in the hacking mood I therefore decided to put together an 8-bit Map - Dragon Warrior version of the hack as well.

Google Maps Adds an 8-bit NES Button

It is now April 1st in some parts of the world. That being so - we now have the best Google Maps April Fool ever - an NES button on Google Maps.

Go to Google Maps and use the Quest button and you can actually browse Google Maps as it would look on an 8-bit NES.

The map even has some great detail.

Check out Sydney Opera House, Alcatraz, Buckingham Palace, the Egyptian Pyramids, aliens at Area 51 or the Eiffel Tower.

I also found a Dragon at the centre of the world. This Reddit thread is doing a great job of listing all the great finds in the Google 8-bit map, including Dragon Warrior enemies dotted throughout the world.

There is even an 8-bit version of Street View!

Another Google Maps related April Fool comes from Google Australia. Who are today claiming to have started collecting Google Street Roo imagery.

They say that "more than a thousand Big Red kangaroos will be equipped with a 360-degree head camera ... (and) ... solar panels stitched into the back pocket of custom-made roo jackets."

A World of Tweets on Google Maps

GlobalTweets is a Google Map and timeline of Twitter messages.

GlobalTweets allows users to search the Twitter messages shown on the map or filter the results by the type of Tweet. The Tweets can be viewed as individual messages or as a heat map, so it is possible to gauge the extent of Twitter activity at different locations around the world.

The latest Tweets are also displayed in the timeline beneath the map. It is possible to translate, reply or retweet any of the messages on the map.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

Friday, March 30, 2012

N Korean Rocket Debris on Google Maps

In April North Korea is planning to launch a rocket to put a satellite into orbit. Debris from the second stage of North Korea's rocket is expected to fall just east of Luzon in the Philippines.

Philippines television network ABS-CBN has created a Google Map to show where the debris from the rocket is likely to fall.

Accompanying the map is information about where debris from the first stage of the rocket is expected to land (in waters west of South Korea).

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

Mapping the Fonts of London

London Typographica aims to photographically record publicly available lettering and type throughout London.

The London Typographica iPhone app allows users to take pictures of fonts that they find out on the streets of London and post them to a Google Map. The map itself is a wonderful guide to the fonts used in street signs, on shop-fronts and in graffiti around the capital city.

If you click on a map marker on the map the submitted photograph of a found font appears in the map sidebar.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Real Heat Map of England

The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change has released a real heat map for England. I say 'real' because it actually uses Google Maps to display heat use at building level throughout England.

The CEO - Heatmap shows heat demand from individual buildings throughout England and provides a range of tools to help developers and planners identify priority areas for low carbon heat projects.

The map was created using a bottom-up address level model of heat demand and does not use personal data (for example from individual household meter readings). It estimates the total heat demand of every address in England based on published sub-national energy consumption statistics.

The model seems very accurate. I notice in the streets around my location that the map shows much more energy consumption in blocks of flats than in individual homes.

Mapping the Panic on the Streets of London

In the UK a government minister responded to a threat of strike action by the country's fuel haulage truck drivers by telling the population to stock up on gasoline. The result has led to huge queues at gas stations and led to many gas stations running out of gas.

So even without an actual strike the UK government appear to have spurred panic buying and the start of a fuel shortage. As ever The Guardian has been quick to map the rising panic. It has asked its readers if they have seen cars queuing at gas stations or if they have been stocking up on gas themselves.

Here is a Google Map of the responses so far.

Create Your Own Fousquare Heat Maps

In the Heat is a heat map creation tool for foursquare check-ins.

Using the application it is possible to create an animated heat map for foursquare check-ins at any location in the world. Creating a heat map is very simple it just require choosing a location and a venue category. It is possible to select from a number of venue categories, for example coffee, stations, nightlife.

In the Heat then creates a Google Map of your location. The map can be animated to view the number of check-ins through time at the venues shown in your map view. The map also comes with a slider control that allows the user to adjust the time displayed on the map.

Tripomatic Widgets

Tripomatic, the personalised trip planner, has now released Tripomatic Widgets. Tripomatic Widgets can be created and used to show nearby points of interest and attractions.

One of the embeddable widgets allows users to create a Google Map of nearby sights and attractions. It is ideal for conference venues or hotels who want to suggest interesting sights nearby. The size of the map can be adjusted and users can add their own map marker to the map.

The other widget creates a list of nearby sights and attractions. The list contains thumbnails of the attractions and links to view the attraction's listing on Tripomatic.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Finding Poems by Location

The Representative Poetry Online (RPO) from the University of Toronto Libraries has created a Google Map called Places of Poems & Poets.

The map allows users to search for places mentioned in the RPO poetry collection. Users can also search for poets' birth places, death places and residences.

The information window for each poem contains a link that you can click through to read the poem about a location.

The poet Robert Frost said that "All literature begins with geography". Poetry Atlas agrees and also believe that nearly everywhere on Earth, at some point, has had a poem written about it.

The Poetry Atlas has therefore created a Google Map to try and geotag as many poems as they can and also find poems for as much of the world as possible. If you know about a poem that isn't on the map you can e-mail it to Poetry Atlas and they will add it to the map.

Yard Sale Planning with Google Maps

The Yard Sale Treasure Map will find yard sales happening around your location and plan a route and an itinerary for you, so that you can visit them all.

When you add a location to Yard Sale Treasure Map the nearest sales are automatically added to your itinerary. You can add or remove sales by clicking on their map marker. You can even search for places to stop off on your route. For example if you fancy a coffee between yard sales you can search for nearby cafes and add one to your route.

The finished route and itinerary can be printed out or saved as a GPX file.

I Just Became the Mayor of Hogwarts

Readmap has a new twist on the check-in format. Now instead of checking-in with Foursquare or Google Latitude you can check-in when your read.

Users of the Readmill app for iPad can choose to track where they read by enabling location tracking in the app. Readmap can then visualise your Readmill check-ins and show where you have been reading books using Google Maps.

To create a Readmap of your reading locations you need sync the map to a Readmill account.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

45,000 Trails on Google Maps

AllTrails currently has over 200,000 members who have mapped over 45,000 trails. The trails includes routes and information on many different activities including hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding.

It is possible to search for trails by location and the results are displayed on a Google Map. It is then possible to refine the trails shown by the driving distance from your location, the length of the trail and / or its duration.

When you select a trail you can view its route on a Google Map and view details about its length and duration. It is also possible to download the route as a GPX file or download it to a smartphone.

Plan & Download a Trip to Your Phone

TouristEye allows travellers to plan a trip and download an itinerary and map for the trip to an Android or iPhone.

Using TouristEye is is possible to easily plan a personal itinerary for any trip. To plan a trip you just need to select your destination and confirm your length of stay. You can then select to add places to visit from the TouristEye recommendations or add your own recommendations. To add a place to your itinerary you just need to drag its thumbnail image to any day on your itinerary.

When you have completed your personal itinerary you can view all the places you plan to visit on a Google Map and you can download your trip to your smartphone.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

Cherry Blossom Season on Google Maps

Google has released a special Cherry Blossom Season Street View Guide to Japan. The guide highlights some of the best Street View images found on Google Maps in Japan, including the most beautiful Cherry Blossom images.

Using the guide it is possible to explore a number of Japanese cities. The Street Views for each city are organised into a number of categories, including 'sights', 'lodging', 'restaurants' and 'shopping'. These categories include a number of new Street View images taken inside shops, hotels and restaurants.

Via: Google Lat Long

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lights, Street View, Action

Roter Faden Hannover is a website that provides immersive 360 degree videos of Hannover in Germany.

Immersive videos are like Street View, only instead of still images they use video footage. As the video plays the user can control the direction of the camera. Roter Faden Hannover has created a number of these immersive videos on the streets of Hannover.

The site uses Google Maps, with OpenStreetMap map tiles, to show the location of the streets that currently have immersive video coverage. has been using Google Maps for a while to map video Street Views in Switzerland. It's coverage now includes video Street Views in Switzerland, Vietnam and Dubai.

Your Childhood Memories in Street View

Ever since Zefrank's Childhood Walk I've been waiting for someone to provide a Street View memory tagging application.

In a Childhood Walk Ze asked people to think of a walk that they used to make as a child. He then asked them to recreate the walk virtually using Google Maps Street View. Whilst on the walk, if a specific childhood memory came to mind, he asked people to write it down and take a screenshot of the Street View.

Even since reading the nostalgic submissions people made to Childhood Walk I've been thinking about building an app that allowed users to select a Street View of a childhood scene and asking them to add a short comment about what the place in the Street View means to them.

Jux - Teleportation isn't quite that application but it comes close. Users of Jux can choose any Street View image from Google Maps and add a comment. The Jux application doesn't have to be used for childhood memories - but it can be.

Here is one of my earliest visual memories of Shirley Oaks in London.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

Strange Strolling with Google Maps

The Strange Stollers is a team of hikers, currently in training for the Oxfam Trailtrekker 2012 challenge. Oxfam Trailtrekker is a 100km trek for teams of four, over 30 hours across the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and takes place 26th-27th May 2012.

The Strange Strollers Training Map is a Google Map being used to record and document the walks that the group are undertaking in their training for the Oxfam Trailtrekker.

Using the GPS tracks, captured with a Garmin Forerunner, the map shows the routes of the group's walks. Each walk contains map markers that reveal photographs taken on the walk, which have been imported with the Instagram API or Tweets that have been imported onto the map using the Twitter API.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Google Maps of the Week

For me the Nature Valley Trail View was the stand-out map of the week.

The map includes a number of trails in the Grand Canyon, each of which can be experienced with a glorious animated custom Street View tour. If you click on the menu link you can select any of the trails and then virtually walk the trail with custom Street Views of the whole trail.

Each tour includes an option to animate a walk on the trail, so you can just sit back and watch as you walk the trail with custom Street Views. Below the Street View is an altitude graph, and a compass rose is also provided.

The World of the Living Dead is a browser based game of zombie survival that makes extensive use of Google Maps.

In the game you have to lead a small squad as you try to avoid the zombie hordes, scavenge for resources and set up safe-houses. Integral to your mission for survival is your handy Google Map. The map shows important locations in the game and luckily includes color-coded zones indicating where the zombies have already gained control.

So can you survive the World of the Living Dead?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Buy a Woodcut Google Map

You can get Google Maps on your phone, on your tablet, on your desktop and now you can get Google Maps in wood.

Woodcut Maps allows you to use Google Maps to select your favourite location and then they will create a beautiful woodcut map of your selected area. It's possible to customise your design by size and by choice of wood.

My birthday is coming up and if anyone is feeling generous this woodcut map of London is high on my wish list.

Visiting the Country Club with Google Maps

The Martis Camp near Lake Tahoe has released a nice Martis Camp Life map of the camp using custom map tiles. The map shows the location of available property and lots for sale at the camp.

The map was created for the camp by web developers seesiterun. The map is fully integrated with WordPress which means that the map markers and the information windows can be easily updated by the client, who can simply use the WordPress posting format to update the map markers and information.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Real-Time Tracking via Google Maps

Track on the Map is a handy Google Maps based application that allows you to quickly and easily share your real-time movements with the world.

To use Track on the Map you just need to view the application with a GPS enabled device, such as your smart phone. You can add a user name and select an appropriate icon and that's all you have to do.

Once you agree to share your location with Track on the Map your real-time position will automatically appear on the Google Map. You can then share the URL of Track on the Map with your friends and they can follow your progress wherever you are in the world.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

Friday Fun with Google Maps

Harry Beck's famous map design for the London Underground must be one of the most copied designs ever. This Under Skin map is a great Human Body Map in the now familiar Harry Beck style.

Google Sightseeing found this giant three headed elephant in the new Thailand Street View imagery.

If you want to break Google Maps try searching for the North Pole. It seems that the Mercator Projection used by Google Maps struggles with the North Pole. If you do want to find the position of the North Pole on Google Maps, you can turn on the Google Earth view.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Google Train View Arrives

Google has released Street View imagery for the Albula Railway in Switzerland. The imagery is available for the section of the line between Albula and Bergun. This is a small section of the famous Glacier Express route.

Via: Street View Funny

How a Trails Map Should be Made

The Nature Valley Trail View is a beautiful map of trails in the Grand Canyon.

The map includes a number of trails, each of which can be experienced with a glorious animated custom Street View tour. If you click on the menu link you can select any of the trails and then virtually walk the trail with custom Street Views of the whole trail.

Each tour includes an option to animate a walk on the trail, so you can just sit back and watch as you walk the trail with custom Street Views. Below the Street View is an altitude graph and a compass rose is also provided.

The Nature Valley Trail View Grand is a great example of what can be achieved with the Google Maps API. I'd almost go as far as to say it nearly matches the beauty of the Grand Canyon itself.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

Thailand Gets Street View

Wat Arun, Bangkok

With all the excitement of the release of Street View in the Amazon the release of Street View imagery in Poland and Thailand has almost gone unnoticed.

Poland now has Street View coverage in most of the major towns and in Thailand there is a lot of coverage in and around Bangkok and in the north around Chiang Mai.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New 3D Landmarks on Google Maps

Google has enhanced the quality of more than a thousand 3d landmarks around the world. The new 3d buildings are much more impressive than the basic outlines that they replace.

To showcase some of the best of the 3d buildings in Google Maps I've created a 3d View Slideshow. The slideshow animates through some of my favourite 3d views. The map also uses the Styled Maps feature in the Google Maps API to take away roads and other map features to help the 3d buildings stand out a little more.

Via: Google Lat Long

Mapping with Drones

Have you ever wanted to replace Google's satellite imagery with your own aerial imagery? If your budget doesn't stretch to launching your own satellite then you might want to consider some of these alternatives.

senseFly is a mini drone with a high-resolution camera attached. The camera can be controlled from the ground whilst the drone is in flight or you can pre-program it to take pictures at specific time intervals and location.

Once you have captured your aerial imagery you can then use the Google Maps API to create your own aerial imagery map. The senseFly website has a number of example maps created from imagery captured by a senseFly drone.

If you can't afford a drone you might want to try using helium filled balloons instead to capture your imagery. Balloon Mapping sell kits and also provide instructions on how you can create your own balloon mapping kit.

Another alternative to an expensive drone is a kite. Frank Taylor of the Google Earth Blog has been capturing aerial imagery, as he sails around the world, with the use of a kite. Some of his imagery has even made it onto Google Maps.

You can read about Frank's kite imagery adventures on his personal blog The Tahina Expedition.

If you ever do capture your own aerial imagery then you might find MapKnitter useful. MapKnitter is a free and open source tool for aligning and creating maps from overhead images.

The tool allows anyone to take a single aerial image or a series of aerial images and align them, with the help of Google Maps satellite view. Images maps created with MapKnitter can be exported in GeoTiff, TMS/OpenLayers, and JPG formats.

You can explore maps created with the tool by location and the most recent maps are also featured on the home page of MapKnitter.

Dutch Car Accidents on Google Maps

Ongelukken op de Kaart is a Google Map of all car accidents in the Netherlands from 2007-2010.

Numbered map markers indicate the number of accidents at each location. The markers are also color-coded to show those incidents with no injuries, accidents with injuries and those accidents that resulted in a fatality.

If you click on a map marker you can view details about all the accidents at that location.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A New Home for the Google Maps API

Google has released a new and improved Google Maps API website.

The new site includes all the Google Maps API developer documentation and a new Developer Showcase page that provides examples of some of the best websites and applications that have been created with the Google Maps API.

If you like looking at maps then you'll love the Developer Showcase!

The Developer Showcase can be filtered by API, e.g. Street View API, Places API, Fusion Tables and Google Earth API. It can also be filtered by the type of website, e.g. weather, travel, crime etc and by Google Maps API features, for example Styled Maps, Custom Tiles and Elevation.

The showcase therefore provides a great insight into what can be created with the API and a great resource for developers looking to see what others have created with the API.

Via: Google Geo Developers Blog

Water Quality on Google Maps

French website Que Qhoisir has created a Google Map showing the The Quality of French Tap Water. The map is based on the results of a water analysis of 36,568 communes by the Ministry of Health.

Users of the map can search the map by address or postcode. The map will then display the tap water quality results recorded near that location. Each result give details about the quality of the water under a number of headings, including pesticides, selenium, bacteria, radioactivity and aluminum.

When Zombies Attack Google Maps

World of the Living Dead is a browser based game of zombie survival that makes extensive use of Google Maps.

In the game you have to lead a small squad as you try to avoid the zombie hordes, scavenge for resources and set up safe-houses. Integral to your mission for survival is your handy Google Map. The map shows important locations in the game and luckily includes color-coded zones indicating where the zombies have already gained control.

So can you survive the World of the Living Dead?

Commercial Real Estate on Google Maps

42 Floors is a nicely designed commercial real-estate Google Map.

Using the map it is possible to search for commercial properties by location, price and by size. Two slider controls allow the user to select the square feet and price range that they are interested in and the resulting properties are displayed on the map.

If the user clicks on a map marker they can get the full details about the property and even view it on Street View.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Car Crime on Google Maps

Car Insurance comparison website Cheapest Car Insurance has created a Google Map of UK car crime and car accidents.

One of the major factors in the price of car insurance premiums can be where you live, drive and store your car. The aim of the map is to provide a visual guide as to how high the vehicle crime rate is in your area and whether you are in an area that has a high number of road accidents.

Using the Vehicle Crime & Road Traffic Accident Map it is possible to search for any UK address (except Northern Ireland) and view nearby incidents of car crime or traffic accidents involving cars. The data for the map is for 2010 and come from the Department For Transport and the Police.

What Films Are Showing Nearby?

The Reel Box can show you which films are currently running at your local cinemas.

Once you share your location with The Reel Box the list of films running in nearby movie theatres is listed in the side-panel. If you roll over the movies in the side-panel the cinemas that are currently showing the film are displayed on a Google Map.

As an added bonus you can even watch the official trailer for each selected film.

Dutch Cadastre on Google Maps

Kadaster is a cadastre map of the Netherlands. The map contains details on the price of properties throughout the country.

If you right click on the map then an information window will open with details about the location and the average property purchase type at the location. The price is given for a range of property types.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Google Maps of the Week

This week we saw some familiar mapping themes but with some new twists. For example, Pothole Season is far from being the first pothole reporting Google Map but the addition of pothole avoiding driving directions is a nice addition to the concept.

You can use Pothole Season to report the location of potholes and you can also use it to get driving directions that shows you the route with the least potholes.

Vasile Cotovanu', Lausanne Transit Network Simulator, is not the first real-time transit network simulator either. Vasile himself is responsible for the Swiss Railways(SBB) network simulator and Romanian Railways(CFR) network simulator.

Vasile's latest simulation however is even more impressive because of the availability of oblique aerial view imagery in Lausanne. The simulator animates the town's buses in real-time based on the Lausanne public transit network time-table.

This week I was also impressed with Tweereal, a real-time Google Map of Twitter users activity. In particular I liked the cool animated map markers.

I also think that Everplaces is a nice addition to the location bookmarking market. Everplaces has some neat features, such as importing your saved locations from Google Maps and the ability to share your favourite locations with friends via the various social networks.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NPR Signal Coverage on Google Maps

NPR Labs has launched a new Google Maps based Broadcast Signal Mapping System to show the reception coverage of all public radio and television stations in the USA.

If you zoom in on a location or use the search function to search for a city the available stations will appear in the map sidebar. Alongside the station name are icons representing the available coverage overlays that can be viewed on the map.

The map also includes a demographics tab. The demographics tab provides information about the population covered by each station listed in the map sidebar.