Friday, August 31, 2012

Big Art for a Big Map

The Big Art Mob, the crowd-sourced map of the world's public art, has relaunched today with some exciting new features.

Using the Big Art Mob Google Map it is possible to search for public art by location, by tag, by user or just browse the latest or featured submissions. Anyone can submit an artwork to the map by taking a photo and posting the location of the art work. A soon to be released new iPhone application will enable users to post photos straight to the Big Art Mob map.

Amongst the new features is the ability to create walking routes of your favourite art works. To create a route you just need to perform a search for the artist, theme or location you are interested in. Then as you browse the results you just need to click the 'Add to Route' button on an artwork's entry to add it to your art walking route.

Another new feature is the ability to view the artworks on Google Maps Street View, where available. When you click on an art work's marker on the map you can select the 'Street View' link to open a Street View of the submitted location.

Friday Fun with Google Maps

Google Maps has captured a pretty amazing crop circle in the UK. Who knew those aliens were so artistic.

Click on the screenshot to view it on Google Maps.

In Brazil Google has captured this train, which seems to who have come to the end of the line, on Street View.

If you like Street View and you like dogs then you will love Street View Dog Walk, which is, yes you guessed it, a collection of people found on Street View walking their dogs.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shooting Zombies on Street View

You might want to play this game quickly as it is a lot of fun and Google quickly pulled a similar Street View shooting game earlier this year. It therefore may not be available for very long.

Resident Evil: Retribution Street Invasion is a zombie killing game that takes place in Google Maps Street View. Just enter an address into the game and you are transported there on Street View. As soon as you arrive zombies start surrounding you and you have to start picking them off with the gun provided.

Using Street View for the background to the game is an inspired move as it allows you to fight on your very own street or pick any location in the world. You can even fight inside the White House, thanks to the recent addition of Street View imagery for the President's Washington DC pad.

Photographing the World One Grid at a Time

The Degree Confluence Project is busy photographing the planet one map grid at a time. The project wants to gather photos at every intersection of integer latitude and longitude degree lines in the world.

The site doesn't use the Google Map's API, although there is a Google My Map of the last 35 photographs added to the map.The project reminds me a lot of Geograph which is a similar project attempting to collect, publish and organise representative photographs for every square kilometre of Great Britain, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.

Geograph photos are licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. It would be great if The Degree Confluence Project agreed a similar license for the photographs submitted to the project. If it did then someone could create a mosaic of all the images and add it as an overlay on top of Google Maps, creating a map of the world consisting entirely of photographs.

Germans in their Underwear on Google Maps

AXE Anarchy is a body fragrance for men or women which, if the ads are to believed, has the effect of disintegrating the clothes worn by members of the opposite sex.

In Germany AXE Anarchy has released a Google Map called AXE Anarchy News. The map allows users to enter a location in Germany and view photos and reports of men and women nearby who have supposedly been so overcome by AXE Anarchy that they have had no choice but to strip down to their underwear.

Either that or this is a clever, exploitative piece of marketing by AXE.

Capture Zip Codes with Google Maps

The Zip Code Catcher is a great Google Maps based application for finding and downloading all the zip codes for a specific area.

The map includes two drawing tools. A circle tool allows the user to quickly define a radius around the desired location. However, if you need to define an area more precisely, a polygon tool allows you to plot out an area more accurately.

Once you have defined the desired area on the map you just need to click the download button and you can download a CSV of all the zip codes in your selected area. The downloaded spreadsheet includes all the zip codes and the city, state, latitude and longitude, the population and even the distance from the center of your selected area for each zip code.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Ad Formats for the Google Maps API

Google has launched new ad formats for the Google Maps API.

There are six new link unit ads that rather than display direct ads instead show a list of topics that are relevant to the content of your page. When a user clicks a topic, Google will show a page of related ads.

Google are also allowing you to customise the design of the Maps Ad Unit. Developers can change the custom colors for the ad unit's background, border, link, text and URL. This enables you to set a color scheme that complements the design of your site. This could be particularly useful for map developers that use the Styled Maps feature in Google Maps.

Google has created a demo page where you can test-drive the new ad units and designs.

Via: Google Geo Developers Blog

Introducing GPS Navigation for Cyclists

Get ready to strap your Android phone to the handlebars of your bike as Google launches turn-by-turn, voice-guided biking navigation to Google Maps Navigation in every country with biking directions.

Using Google Maps Navigation cyclists can now get turn-by-turn directions when they need to get from A to B. The directions make use of bike paths and trails, where available, and can even help you avoid steep hills. If you turn up your phones speakers you can even listen to the app's voice-guided directions.

Via: Official Google Blog

Connect with Musicians on Google Maps

MusoMap is a cool Google Map designed to help musicians connect with each other.

Musicians can add themselves to the map and use the map to find other musicians nearby. A useful tagging system makes it very easy to find musicians who play a particular instrument. You can use the search function to centre on a location on the map or to refine the results shown by instrument or by musical genre.

Users can send private messages to other musicians shown on the map, post on other musicians profiles or use the chat function to talk with other registered members.

Finding and Booking Hotels with Google Maps is a Google Maps based search engine for finding and booking hotels.

To find an hotel with you need to enter the location you wish to visit. A Google Map is then displayed showing all the available hotels. The displayed hotels can be refined by date, price, number of stars, TripAdvisor rating and by amenities.

The information windows on are really nicely designed. If the user clicks on the rating system (at the top of each window) then another window appears displaying TripAdvisor reviews for the selected hotels. At the bottom of each window a quick link is provided to book the hotel. If the user desires a different booking service than the one shown then they can click on the down arrow and select another site.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pimp Your House on Street View

Blockee is a nice little app that allows you to pimp up your house by adding some bling to its Google Maps Street View image.

Using the application you can find your house on Google Maps Street View and then drag and drop a number of items onto the static image of your house. Once you have completed decorating your house you are given a nice short URL to the finished image so you can share your pimped up house with your friends via your favourite social network.

You might need to use Google Chrome to get this to work!

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

How Well Do you Know Google Maps? is a great way to learn about and explore the countries of the world with Google Maps.

The country quiz is very well done. The quiz takes you through progressive stages exploring different continents and parts of the world. In each stage of the quiz users are shown a number of countries on Google Maps and told the name of each country. The user is then tested on the countries they have been shown.

If the user answers wrong then uses audio and text to reveal the correct answer so that learning is reinforced as the quiz progresses. isn't just a quiz. It also contains great content about each country. After completing each task the learner gains access to content about the countries featured, including images, Wikipedia information and basic facts about the country.

If is connected to a Facebook account users can also post their scores and compete with their friends.

Google Maps of the World's Tech Scenes

If you are interested in the Austrian technology scene then you should check out these two Google Maps. Start Vie is a map of the technology start-up community in Vienna and StartupLINZ is a Google Map of the technology and start-up community in Linz and Upper Austria.

Both maps were built with RepresentMap, an open source project started to help start-up communities around the world create their own maps. You can view other maps built by other communities on the startup maps page. This includes maps of the tech scenes in LA, Boston, Hawaii, Seattle, Berlin and Kiel.

Made in NY is a Google Map of New York's digital industry. The map shows the locations of over 500 homegrown startups, investors and coworking spaces across the city.

It is possible to refine the companies shown on the map by 'Digital Companies', 'Investors' and 'Coworking / Incubator Spaces'. As well as their locations being displayed on the map the companies are also listed in the map sidebar.

If you are currently looking for work in New York's tech industry then check out the companies listed in the sidebar. Those companies that currently have positions available are indicated with a 'We are hiring' link.

Tech City Map is a visually striking Google Map of the technology companies and startups in east London.

The map shows the locations of London's silicon roundabout area. The 'show networks' option on the map allows users to visualise the connections between the over 800 companies. If you click on an individual map marker there is also an option to view the latest Tweets from the selected tech company.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Interactive Timelines with Google Maps

MyHistro is a tool for creating interactive Google Maps time-lines.

Using myHistro it is possible to create a mapped time-line of any subject. A time-line can be of pictures and places you visited on your last vacation, the life of Marilyn Monroe an account of battles in the American Civil War or anything else that you want to map.

Completed time-lines can be navigated by clicking on the time-line (positioned above the map) or by clicking on individual map markers. Each time-line map can also be viewed as a chronological animation by using the playback controls. 

I can see a lot of potential uses for MyHistro. In particular teachers should find this a great tool to allow students to plot a time-line of events and present their Google Map to the rest of the class.

Hurricane Isaac's Path on Google Maps

Google Crisis Response has released two Google Maps to help prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac, the  State of Florida Emergency Preparedness map and the Tropical Storm Isaac map.

The maps show the current location of tropical storm Issac and its projected path. The maps also include a number of other useful layers. US cloud imagery and US Radar imagery can be viewed on the maps. The maps also include links to public alerts that have been issued in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

You can use the maps to view projected wind speeds along the storm's track, flooding forecasts and storm surge zones. The maps also include important evacuation information, such as evacuation zones and routes.

WunderMap and Storm Advisory are also both using Google Maps to show the projected path of tropical storm Issac.

How to Find the Best Local Restaurants

LocalEats is a worldwide guide to local restaurants. The site is not interested in the often bland national chains of restaurants but instead helps the user find the best local eateries, that are often harder to find.

Google Maps are used throughout LocalEats. They are part of the city guides that show the locations of all the restaurants in a city featured on the site. They are also used on each individual restaurant's review page to ensure that users can find the restaurant with ease.

LocalEats is also available as a popular iPhone app, which is particularly useful when you need to find a good local restaurant in a strange town or city.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Google Maps of the week

OneTwoTrip is a cheap air ticket finder that uses an attractive Google Map to display the starting point and destination of the requested flight.

The map uses custom map tiles to provide a distinctive looking map. Animated clouds are also overlaid on top of the map to provide more visual interest. Searching for a flight is also simple and intuitive. The user just needs to use the 'From' and 'To' search boxes to enter their details and then select dates from a calendar.

The cheapest available flights and prices for each search are displayed beneath the map.

The Houston Clean Air Network uses a Google Map to animate daily ozone levels in the City of Houston.

The map uses a color coded overlay to display the ozone levels on the map. Purple colors represent 'hazardous' levels, while green indicates 'good' levels. The map includes an option to look at and animate the ozone levels for any previous day.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Crowd-Sourced Bike Map of Rochester

Field Reporter is a Google Maps application that allows users to post comments related to the quality of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in and around Rochester, New York.

The map includes multiple custom Fusion Table layers including the 2009 Edition of the Greater Rochester Area Bicycling Map, a map showing Multi-Use Trails and the Erie Canalway Trail. It also includes the Google Panoramio, Weather, Traffic, and Bicycling Layers.

Users can add their own markers to the map with comments and photos. This allows users to improve the map by adding locations of bike racks, pedestrian bridges or anything else that they think will help other cyclists and pedestrians. 

Google Maps Mania in the Arctic

Google this week started collecting Street View imagery in Cambridge Bay in the Northwest Passage in Canada's Arctic. It is a location you can only reach by plane or boat and is the furthest north the Google Maps Street View team has traveled in Canada.

This Street View adventure has captured the imagination of many Canadians and has featured fairly heavily in Canadian news reports. For example, check out this report on CTV News.

Near the beginning of the clip you can see the Street View trike being ridden through the streets of Cambridge Bay. But hang on ... who is that riding the Street View trike? Yes, it is Google Maps Mania founder Mike Pegg, moonlighting as a Street View driver.

Mike however is not working alone. Google are working with the local community to improve Google Maps in the area with Google Map Maker. A community Map Up event has been held, where village elders, local mapping experts and teenagers from the nearby high school gathered around a dozen Chromebooks and used Map Maker to add new roads, rivers and lakes to the Google Map of Cambridge Bay and Canada's North.

Via: Google Lat Long

Friday, August 24, 2012

Your Google+ Check-ins on Google Maps

If you check-in to Google+ with your smartphone a nice static Google Map of your location now automatically appears in your time-line. This should help to encourage Google+ users to use the check-in function on Google Maps whilst using their phones.

If you do use your phone to check-in regularly, or you are a regular user of Google Latitude, then you might also want to check out Google+ Map.

If you connect Google+ Map with your Google+ account you can view a Google Map of your check-ins. The map displays all the locations that you have checked-in using your Google+ account. The dates of your check-in are displayed above the map and if you click on a map marker you can also view any message you posted alongside your location.

Transit Planning for People with Disabilities

D-Trekkers is a crowdsourced public transport planner for people with disabilities or accessibility needs in the UK. The service allows anyone to get public transit directions with information about accessibility at all stations on the journey, whether wheelchair-friendly taxis are available at the destination and the standard of facilities at all stops involved in the trip.

If you enter your starting point and destination into D-Trekkers a suggested route is displayed on a Google Map and all stations on the route are listed in the map sidebar. You can click on individual stations to learn how accessible they are. Alternatively if you just wish to learn about the accessibility of an individual stop you can enter its name into the search box.

D-Trekkers has only just launched in beta, so many stations still have no accessibility information. If you have information about the accessibility options at a station you can register and fill in the missing information.

Also See
  • AXS Map - an app for searching and reviewing the accessibility of shops, restaurants and all kinds of buildings
  • Planat a Google Map designed to crowd-source reviews on the mobility accessibility of buildings and public spaces worldwide

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Find Content Nearby with Google Maps

ScanThe.Net allow users to discover content submitted to the Internet about any subject. If you enter a search term into ScanThe.Net you can view a stream of photos, videos and Tweets related to your search term.

ScanThe.Net Local throws geo-location into the mix as well, allowing the user to search for content being submitted to the web from different locations. This can be particularly useful during live events. For example, during next week's paralympic games you can use ScanThe.Net to find the latest Instagram and Flickr photos posted in Stratford, London, view any nearby YouTube videos and view geo-located Tweets from the Olympic Park.

You can set a location by entering a place into the search box or simply drag and drop a marker onto the Google Map. As soon as you set the location the app immediately streams the discovered content in the map sidebar.

Animated History of Berlin's Transit System

The History of Berlin's Transit System uses the Google Maps API with the Simile Timeline to create an animated map showing the development of Berlin's public transit over time.

When you press the play button the map animates through the time-line adding lines to the map showing the development of Berlin's s-bahn, u-bahn and strassenbahn. Users can select individual transit systems, so, for example, if you are only interested in the development of the s-bahn you can deselect the other transit systems and just view an animation of the growth of the s-bahn on the map.

Dutch Election Candidates on Google Maps

Tweede Kamerverkiezingen 2012 is a Google Map that displays the locations of all the candidates in the upcoming general election in the Netherlands (a few candidates who live abroad are not shown).

The map markers are categorised to show the political party of each candidate. Clicking on a marker opens an information window with a link to the selected candidate's details page. The map allows for zooming in on your location to find candidates nearby, as well as filtering by political party.

The map also uses the Overlapping Marker Spiderfier to solve the issue with overlapping markers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jesus and Bieber on Street View

Google Sightseeing has discovered a wax museum in Madrid on Google Maps Street View. The museum includes models of a whole host of film stars, sports personalities famous musicians and Justin Bieber.

Jesus also makes a surprise appearance. 

Google's new indoor Street View images are throwing up quite a few interesting images, including this dog in a silver suit, in a restaurant in San Francisco.

Street View Funny found out this week that in Poland Street View has got into the wedding photography game. And if this shot is anything to go by it looks like it could be a lucrative sideline.

Street View isn't having it all its own way though. Google's aerial view imagery in Australia has captured this close-up of a plane.

This Map is on Fire

One area where OpenStreetMap has traditionally had the edge over Google Maps is in the options  developers have had to customise the look and design of a map. The Google Maps API has made great strides in the last couple of years in an attempt to bridge the design gap with the launch and development of the Styled Maps option in the API.

One company that has taken particular advantage of OpenStreetMap's design flexibility is Stamen Design. Their Watercolour Map has deservedly won lots of praise for the beauty of its design.

To celebrate the annual Burning Man festival Stamen Design has released a new design called Burningmap. This design uses WebGL to create a map that truly fires.If you want to view the map then you will need a browser that supports WebGL (try it in Chrome).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

View NASA Satellite Images on Google Maps has created a Google Map to portray the daily satellite images of the Arctic provided by NASA. Satellite images of the Earth are generated every day by NASA and you can view them on the Observations map. Observations overlays each of the daily NASA Arctic mosaic images on top of a Google Map. The map includes a simple calendar navigation aide that allows the user to view past NASA mosaic satellite images. Just mouse-over the date button to select a different date's image.

The map also includes a number of other interesting overlays to view on the map as well as the option to view the daily NASA satellite images for the rest of the world.

Hat-tip: Street View Funny

The Food Network on Google Maps

The Food Network on the Road Google Map lets users find restaurants featured on the Food Network.

The map can be searched by location or by host and show. If you click on a restaurant's marker on the map you can click through to read the Food Network's review and find out which show the restaurant featured on.

If you click through to the featured episode you can read a short introduction to the episode and find out times and dates of when the show might be being shown again on the Food Network.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is a Google Map of the diners visited by Guy Fieri on the Food Network's 'Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives'. It is a great resource for finding traditional American diners.

Users can search the map by address or zip code and specify to view results within 100, 200, 300 or 400 miles. The Diners, Drive-ins and Dives are then displayed on the map and also listed beneath the map. The list view indicates how far each venue is from the searched location.

If you select a diner from the map you can view a YouTube video of Guy's review and photographs of the diner posted to Flickr. You can also read reviews of each diner submitted by readers of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Real-Time Air Quality on Google Maps

Houstonians have a new way to track outdoor air quality, thanks to a real-time map created by the University of Houston and Air Alliance Houston. The Houston Clean Air Network uses a Google Map to show ozone levels in the City of Houston.

The map uses a color coded overlay to display the ozone levels on the map. Purple colors represent 'hazardous' levels, while green indicates 'good' levels. The current readings from different locations around the city are also displayed on the map via numbered map markers.

The map also includes the option to look at and animate the ozone levels for any previous day. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Extinction-Level Events on Google Maps

Down 2 Earth is a meteor impact simulator that uses Google Maps to predict the impact of various sizes of meteor on the Earth.

Using the simulator you can enter a number of parameters, including the size  and density of the meteor and the angle of trajectory. To see the predicted results of your meteor's impact you then just need to click on the Google Map to view an overlay of the likely crater size.

Would I Survive a Nuke? is a little Google Maps application that allows you to see the likely effect of a nuclear bomb falling on any location.

The application allows you to select a location, the size of the bomb and view the likely effects of the bomb striking at your chosen location.

Ground Zero II is a similar application that includes more bomb choices and also includes a wind direction selector that will show you the likely fallout area of a nuclear bomb striking at a particular location.

NUKEMAP is another nuclear bomb effects calculator for Google Maps. The calculator allows the user to select a location on Google Maps and view the likely effects of a nuclear bomb on the surrounding area.

Tsunami Mapper makes use of the Google Maps elevation service and a flood fill algorithm to display the likely effects of a tsunami hitting the shore anywhere in the world.

The map allows you to enter a location and then set the parameters of a possible tsunami. These include the wave height, the direction of the wave to travel and the tsunami starting point. The map will then display the areas that are likely to be effected by water damage if such a tsunami hit your location.

Flood Map allows you to view the risk of flooding at any location in the world.

Using flood map you can set a water elevation height for any location and view the likely effects on a Google Map. Areas that are likely to be flooded are displayed on the map with a blue overlay.

It is also possible to right-click on any location and view the elevation level at that point. If you want to share a Flood Map search you can cut and paste a link to the current map view.

Finding Cheap Flights with Google Maps

OneTwoTrip is a cheap air ticket finder that uses an attractive Google Map to display the starting point and destination of the requested flight.

The map uses custom map tiles to provide a distinctive looking map. Animated clouds are also overlaid on top of the map to provide more visual interest. Searching for a flight is also simple and intuitive. The user just needs to use the 'From' and 'To' search boxes to enter their details and then select dates from a calendar.

The cheapest available flights and prices for each search are displayed beneath the map.

2011 Japanese Tsunami Video Map

Sanna Dullaway has used the Google Maps My Maps option to create a 2011 Japanese Tsunami Video Map. The map includes over 120 videos of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, mapped to where the videos were taken.

The videos really do help to convey the destruction the earthquake and resulting tsunami caused to Japan and the lives of those affected. The map itself helps to convey the scale of the disaster and the huge area of Japan affected.

The blue markers on the map indicate tsunami videos and red markers indicate earthquake videos. Sanna has even added paths to the map to show where witnesses were moving when a video was taken.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Google Maps of the Week

Chichen Itza

The biggest Google Maps event of the week has to have been the huge addition of Street View for 30 Mesoamerican archaeological sites in Mexico. I've spent a lot of time over the last few days virtually exploring Mayan ruins and I haven't even found all the locations with Street View yet.

So far I've listed links to about half of the archaeological sites on Street View here.
Real-time flight tracking website FlightRadar24 has added an awesome new Google Earth browser view that lets you view air-plane flights around the world in Google Earth.

To view a 3d model of a plane's flight in real-time just select one of the many plane markers on the live map. When the selected flight's details appear in the left hand side-bar click on the blue 'Aircraft view (BETA)' button at the bottom of the column. This opens a Google Earth window showing the plane in 3d and in real-time.

If you have some work that needs completing then TaskAmigo could be able to help you find the right person for the job. Currently the application seems to be active in Singapore but I guess there's no reason why the service shouldn't work worldwide. 
TaskAmigo allows anyone to post a job that needs doing and other users can then bid to do the work. If you are looking for some work you can use the TaskAmigo Google Map to find posted tasks around you.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pop Culture on Street View

Ever since Google launched its 360 degree interactive imagery some music fans have been using Street View to find and tour the locations of famous album covers

The NME has created a Musical Tour of London with Google Street View, providing links to the Street View locations where a number of classic album covers were taken in the UK capital. BuzzFeed has also put together a collection of album covers with images of the same scene as captured by Google Maps Street View. .

The Musical Pilgrimages Map doesn't actually use Street View but it does use Google Maps to display locations made famous by musicians. The site's aim is to help you look up the location of a place mentioned in a song, shown in an album cover, used in a video or just where an artist was born. The Rapmap is using Google Maps and Street View to locate places mentioned in (you gusessed it) rap songs.

PopSpots has taken things a little further. The site does have a definite emphasis on album covers but has a wider scope taking in 'famous events of Pop culture', including scenes used in paintings. PopSpots has also got a little more creative in its presentation of album covers, actually using Photoshop to superimpose the album covers on top of the Street View image.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Where Do the Rudest Americans Live?

TwitterHeatmap has created a number of animated heat maps displaying the density of Tweets sent by Americans that include the phrases 'good morning' and 'fuck you'.

For each phrase a number of daily animated heat maps have been created so you can view the spread and density of these messages throughout the day and over a number of different days. To launch an animation just choose a date from the sidebar, then click on one of the options, after that click on the play button to run the animation.

I'll let you come to your own conclusions about where the rudest Americans live.