Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Weather on Google Maps

Before heading out to watch any fireworks tonight you might want to check the latest weather from wezzoo.

The wezzoo social weather application for iOS and Android allows users to share the current weather conditions where ever they are. This means that the wezzoo desktop Google Map shows the real-time weather conditions throughout the world.

Users of the mobile app can submit a weather report and upload a photo to accompany their weather report. The wezzoo social network also allows users to follow other wezzoo members, either geographically to ensure they get up-to-date nearby weather reports, or friends far away to keep in touch with the weather conditions across the world.

Via: GeoInWeb

A Game of Thrones on Google Maps

The Interactive Game of Thrones Map is a Google Map of the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos from George Martin's series of fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire.

As well as including all the locations in a Game of Thrones the map allows you to view the paths of all the characters as the story progresses. To view a character's path select their name from the map sidebar and use the timeline slider control.

The map used in this Google Map was drawn by TheMountainGoat based on previous work by Tear of the Cartographer's Guild. TheMountainGoat website includes files to view the map in Google Earth.

Westeros Map is another Google Map of the fictional continent of Westeros from George Raymond Richard Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels.

Westeros is the great continent in which the Seven Kingdoms resides and the map shows the location of important places in the novels. Clicking on a link in the map sidebar will zoom the map to the selected location.

Mapping the Detectives

It's time to board the Orient Express as we set out on a journey to discover the most well travelled fictional detective - in the case of THE MISSING FICTIONAL DETECTIVE MAP.

SUSPECT No.1: Agatha Christie

The British crime writer Agatha Christie probably has one of the best claims at having provided the most well travelled fictional detectives. Her output included 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections in which she created more than 6 fictional detectives, including Miss Marple and the Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot. 

The Agatha Christie website's Christie Map is a Google Map showing the locations used in the crime writer's novels.

It is possible to refine the results shown on the page by individual Agatha Christie detective or by individual novel. For example, the screenshot above shows the locations in Poirot's 'Murder on the Orient Express'.

SUSPECT No.2: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Probably one of the most well known fictional detectives is the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation is famous for his astute logical reasoning and his use of forensic science skills in solving the various mysteries brought his way.

We all know that Sherlock Holmes lived at 221b Baker Street, now, thanks to The Londonist, we can follow all of the great detective's known movements on Google Maps, with The London of Sherlock Holmes.

The Londonist have used Map Channels to plot every London location mentioned in Conan Doyle's famous novels.

SUSPECT No.3: Raymond Chandler

The American writer Raymond Chandler may have only written seven novels but the seemingly endless movie productions of his stories mean that his protagonist Philip Marlowe is well known to all of us.

GPSing Raymond Chandler is a collection of KML files showing the location of Chandler residences and locations used in Chandler's short stories and novels. The KML files can be viewed in Google Earth or you can and paste the links into the search box on Google Maps to view the locations.

SUSPECT No.4: Ian Fleming

James Bond, code name 007, may be a spy and not really a detective but his shadowy role in the British Secret Service has taken him all over the world.

The Guardian's James Bond Film Locations Map is a Google Map of locations used in the James Bond films.

Licensed to Kill, the ultimate James Bond fansite, has also created a Google Map for James Bond. The James Bond Location Map is a map of Bond's many travels and adventures.

SUSPECT No.5: Hergé

Tintin may be a reporter and not a detective but this didn't stop him solving a number of dangerous cases, many of which took him on a journeys around the world.

Tintin in Brussels is a Google My Map that should prove useful to any Tintin fans visiting Brussels. The map shows the location of the Tintin shop, a Tintin fresco, a Tintin sign and the location of many of Tintin's adventures in the Belgian capital.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Google Maps of the Week

What with the holidays and everything it has been a fairly quiet week on Google Maps Mania. That quietness was disturbed a little by who managed to cause a stir by mapping and publishing the postal addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York state.

The publication of people's addresses in the map has raised privacy concerns and at least one website to retaliate by publishing the names and addresses of the newpaper's employees.

The Census Dotmap went one better than by mapping the location of every American counted in the 2010 national census. The map contains 308,450,225 dots, that is one dot for every American. The Census Dotmap however didn't create any controversy because it took the sensible step of not publishing everyone's name and address.

The resulting map is a beautiful image map that shows the population of the USA uncluttered by the standard map features of city boundaries, arterial roads, state lines etc.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Half a Million Asteroids Mapped

Today I've been taking a little weekend break away from Google Maps and have been playing instead with the Asterank 3d Asteroid Orbit Space Simulation.

The simulation is an amazing WebGL application that shows a view of our solar system with over 580,000 asteroids mapped. It is possible to rotate, zoom and pan the simulation. It is also possible to refine the asteroids shown by most valuable and most accessible (just in case you have plans to get into asteroid mining).

Whilst we are in the heavens you might also like the BBC's collection of images of the Earth taken from orbiting satellites. 2012 as Seen from Space includes eleven images of some important events that have taken place in the last year, as seen from the heavens.

The collection features satellite images of Hurricane Sandy, the capsized cruise ship the Costa Concordia and NASA's Curiosity Rover parachute landing on Mars.

Denmark in Gray on Google Maps

The Århus - Digital Elevation Model is a Google Map of the Danish town of Århus that uses map tiles created from a digital elevation scan of the town.

The map shows a 3d representation of the physical surface of Århus. This includes the height of buildings, tree tops, hills the ground and even a ship in the harbour. The Digital Elevation Model was created by the Danish government. The Google Map tiles from the model were created by using the CASA Image Cutter. has also created a similar map for Copenhagen, Copenhagen - Digital Elevation Model.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Work Out a Cab Fare with Google Maps

The Washington Post's D.C. Taxi Fare Calculator helps passengers estimate the cost of a metered cab fare in Washington, D.C..

Using the app cab passengers can enter a starting address and destination or simply drag the start and finish markers on the provided Google Map. The app will then display the likely cab route on the map and display an estimated cab fare in normal and heavy traffic.

The displayed calculated fares are only estimates and actual cab fares may vary.

Snow and Webcams Maps for Skiers

As a general rule I have stopped posting links to maps created with v2 of the Google Maps API. The Google Maps API v2 will stop working on May 19th 2013 so I don't want to post links to maps that will stop working in a few months.

Having said that skiweather should prove useful to anyone who is lucky enough to be able to go skiing in the Alps in the next few months. Skiweather includes a number of useful maps for skiers, including a Snow Alert Map, a general Weather Map, a Snow Depth Map and, for those who want to check out the conditions in real-time, a Webcam Map.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book a Flight and Hotel with Google Maps

Southwest Airlines have used Google Maps to create two useful applications to help passengers find and book the cheapest flights and hotels.

The Southwest Airlines GetAway Finder tool helps users to find flights for specific dates and then choose and book a hotel. The application takes the customer through a number of short steps that involve picking the starting point and destination, the dates of travel, selecting a hotel and the flight before allowing the user to book their selections.

If the user is only interested in booking a flight, without a hotel, they can use the Southwest Airlines Flight Guide. The guide allows the user to pick a starting point and then shows the cost of flights to destinations across the USA. If a destination is selected from the map the user can view all the available flights for the dates that they wish to travel.

Take a Walk on Street View

After all that Christmas excess it is time to take a little exercise to burn off all the added weight gained over the holidays. Alternatively you could just sit back and relax and take a little stroll with Google Maps Street View.

Here are a few applications that can even help you to avoid having to tire out your fingers by constantly pressing the forward arrow in Street View:

Street View Drives

Here's an old one from me. Street View Drives lets you choose from a number of different locations and view an animated Street View tour. Street View Drives is different from most other Street View animations as it actually allows you to change the camera view as the tour plays.

There are a few blank tours on here. Where Google have updated the Street View imagery and I (shamefully) haven't updated the tour the animation won't work. However you can easily tell which tours are broke from the blank thumbnail images on the home screen.

Google Maps Street View Player

The advantage of Brian Folt's Street View application over mine is that here you can create your own Street View tours.

Just enter a starting address and a destination and the Street View Player will create an animated tour for you. The Street View Player also includes controls that allow you to pause, speed up or slow down the animation.

Map Channels Street View Driver

Map Channels Street View Driver includes even more functionality. This application allows you to take a little more control over the Street View animation by including 'left' and 'right' steering buttons.

As the animation plays the user can turn left or right onto other streets simply by clicking on left and right. You can also jump to another location by simply clicking anywhere on the map.

2012 Top 10 Google Maps Mania Posts

Yesterday I posted a list of the top five most read posts on Google Maps Mania in 2012. Here are then next five most read posts.

The most popular posts included a surprising number of maps of fictional worlds. One other surprise to me was that a post about the U.S. election didn't make it into the top ten but a post about the French election results did just creep in at number ten in the list.

No. 6: The Last Voyage of Costa Concordia Mapped

In January the live ship tracking website Marine Traffic showed the track of the cruise ship Costa Concordia just before it crashed into the island of Giglio in the Mediterranean Sea.

I'm not sure if the track still exists on Marine Traffic but amazingly you can now see the wreck of the Costa Concordia on Google Maps (click on the screenshot above).

No. 7: A Game of Thrones on Google Maps

Westeros Map is a Google Map of the fictional continent of Westeros from George Raymond Richard Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels.

No. 8: 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.

No. 9: Mapping the World of Minecraft

is a service that provides unlimited on-demand servers for the game Minecraft (10 hours a month free - subscribe for unlimited play). Anyone who creates a Minecraft world in Minefold gets an interactive Google Map of their world. Checkout the 'Explore' page to browse through all the maps created so far.

You don't have to join Minefold though to create a Google Map of a Minecraft world. Minecraft Overviewer and Tectonicus are Minecraft world renderers that allow users to create a Google Map of their Minecraft game.

No. 10: French Election Results Live on Google Maps

The Google Politics and Elections website featured a Google Map that displayed the results live for each electoral department in the French elections in April.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 Top 10 Google Maps Mania Posts

During 2012 Google Maps Mania was visited over 2 million times. Today I had a little look at which were the most visited posts on Google Maps Mania this year.

The most popular post of the year featured a review of TwitterHeatmap's maps showing where in the U.S. people most Tweeted the words 'f##k you'. The biggest surprise for me was that four of the most popular posts featured maps of fictional worlds (both from fiction and from computer games). 

Here are the 5 most visited posts on Google Maps Mania this year (6-10 coming tomorrow):

No. 1: 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 'f##k you'.

No. 2: Maps of SOPA & PIPA Supporting Senators

Spatial Situation created two maps to show congressional support (and opposition) for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Action Act (PIPA).

The Map of Congressional Support for PIPA shows which senators are known to support and which senators oppose PIPA. The Map of Congressional Support for SOPA shows known congressional supporters and opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

No. 3: Skyrim Appears on Google Maps

The Skyrim Map is a Google Map of the fictional world in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim video game.

No. 4: Middle Earth on Google Maps

This post actually featured four different Google Maps of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth:

Middle Earth Map
La Tierra Media
Lord of the Rings - Middle Earth
Interactive Map of Middle Earth   

No. 5: Tour the White House with Street View

The Blue Room

This year Google Maps released Street View imagery for the White House. So now in Google Maps you can take a virtual interactive tour of the official residence of the President of the United States. The Google Maps Mania post includes links to each room on the State Floor and the Ground Floor.

Mapping the 300 Million

The Census Dotmap is an amazing map showing the location of every American counted in the 2010 national census. The map contains 308,450,225 dots, that is one dot for every American.

The map can easily display that many dots as the plotting was completed using Python and the resulting image converted into map tiles. The tiles are then displayed using the Custom Maps Type of function of the Google Maps API.

The result is a beautiful map that shows the population of the USA uncluttered by the standard map features of city boundaries, arterial roads, state lines etc.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's Plane Radar & Sleigh Tracker

One thing the Google Santa Tracker is missing is the position of the world's planes. Luckily for Santa he can use the Plane Finder Santa Tracker, which as well as showing Santa's current position also shows the real-time location of nearby planes.

If you click on Santa on the map you can view a few details about his current flight, including his official flight number (S4NTA2012) and his current altitude.

U.S. Gun Maps

Following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School the U.S. has once again become embroiled in debates about the country's gun ownership laws. As a European, living in a country with very strict restrictions on gun ownership, this debate is obviously none of my business. However as an outsider I do find the debate interesting and over the last week I have come across a few maps that may have some bearing on the debate.

This map of Recent World Wide School Shootings shows the location of 78 incidents around the world where guns have been fired in or around schools. Undeniably, for whatever reason, a large proportion of these incidents have occurred in the United States.

The Guardian's US Gun Crime Map uses data from the FBI's uniform crime reports to show the use of firearms in crimes state-by-state across America.

The FBI crime statistics are based on reports to FBI bureau and local law enforcement and they have no available data for Florida or Alabama on firearm murders. The map presents a simple heat map of gun crimes in each state and users can click on individual states to view the data in detail. has mapped the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York state. Using Fusion Tables they have created a Google Map of all pistol permit holders in both counties.

This is the point where most European readers will probably be looking on in slack-jawed wonder. Looking at the map and seeing the prevalence of gun ownership and the number of gun owners on every street is a bit of an eye-opener, at least to my European eyes.

I guess it depends on your point of view as to whether you believe this scale of gun ownership makes you feel safer or scares the living bejesus out of you.

Follow Santa Live on Google Maps

If you are starting to get a little impatient and are finding it hard to wait for all your Christmas presents then you might want to check out how far away Santa is from your house using the Google Santa Tracker.

The Google Santa Tracker uses Google Maps to show the current location of Santa Claus and also shows the location where he has already dropped off his presents. Real-time readings of Santa's sleigh dashboard are also provided, so you can see Santa's current destination, his previous drop-off, the number of presents delivered at each location and the total distance travelled by Santa.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Google Maps of the Week

This week Google Maps Mania featured some great maps, so it has been difficult to resist the urge to just list them all. The two sites that I have picked are both great examples of how the Google Maps API can be used creatively as a presentation and marketing tool.

Which is kind of a roundabout way to say the my maps of the week this week aren't even maps.

The Production Kitchen has created a very unique Google Maps based landing page, breaking new ground in its use of custom map tiles. Whilst the use of hand-drawn custom map tiles might not be new The Production Kitchen's animated map tiles are an innovation that really takes the Google Maps API to another level.

The map itself is a numbered guide to creating the perfect cake. Each stage to the perfect cake has its own little animation. Stage number nine includes a little game in which you can toss a ball of dough between two spoons.

The hand-drawn design of the map even extends to the map controls, with hand-drawn pan and zoom controls. The map side bar ('Quick Jump') includes handwritten numbered links that instantly pan the map to the different stages in creating your perfect cake.

Every year PNC Bank shows the current cost of each of the gifts mentioned in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas and compares the cost to previous years. This year the PNC Christmas Price Index has created a fun Google Maps Street View game to explore the current cost of the twelve gifts.

The game takes the user on a journey around the world using Street View. For example, to find out the cost of two French doves you need to visit the Eiffel Tower on Street View and find and feed two hungry birds. Complete the puzzle and this year's price of two French doves is revealed.

And in case you missed my round-up of the best maps of the year:

The Google Maps of the Year - Part One
The Google Maps of the Year - Part Two

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Broadband Speed Maps

In the U.S. consumers can use the National Broadband Map to discover the broadband providers available for their home address and compare the advertised speeds of each provider.

The service allows users to enter an address and view the available broadband providers and their advertised speeds. The area covered by the search is displayed on an OpenStreetMap. If the user selects the 'Expand All' option they can view the upload and download speeds for each available provider. 

In the UK price comparison website uSwitch has created a Google Map that allows users to compare the broadband speeds of different providers on any street.

The Broadband StreetStats map allows users to enter an address and view at a glance the results of speed tests of the different broadband providers available. The map markers display the logo of the different providers and the download speed recorded. Users can click on the markers to view the upload speed, the distance from the exchange and the date and time when the test was undertaken.

In Australia a new broadband network is being rolled out. Over the next ten years over 200,000 km of fibre-optic cable will be deployed across the country and up to 6,000 homes a day will be connected to the new network.

Australians can use the NBN Rollout Google Map to see when their homes will be connected to the network. Users of the map can search by address, postcode or suburb and find out if NBN work is underway or planned to commence soon in their area.

Some areas on the map may not appear on the rollout plan, as the map only shows areas where plans for the national network have been announced so far. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Google Maps of the Weird and Wonderful

Atlas Obscura has a undergone a beautiful new redesign.

Atlas Obscura has always been the best place to discover wondrous and curious places around you. Now it looks wonderful as well. All areas of Atlas Obscura have a new look including a new custom style for the Atlas Obscura Google Maps, which have been optimised using the Styled Maps feature in the Maps API.

Atlas Obscura say that around every corner there "is something that will surprise the hell out of you". They have therefore made it their mission to help you discover these curious surprises. If you use the site's two part search option ('what' and 'where') you can view a Google Map of any location with all the strange and curious places that Atlas Obscura (and their users) have discovered nearby.

Atlantic Cities Maps of the Year

This week Google Maps Mania has had a look at the best Google Maps of the year:

Atlantic Cities has now posted their favorite maps of the year in 2012's Year in Maps. The round-up includes some great maps and map visualisations, including:
  • Bomb Sight - a map of the bombs dropped during the London Blitz
  • Surging Seas - climate central's sea level rise map
  • Metrophors - a map that changes labels based on geographic metaphors (tweets in the form of x is the y of z)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Test Drive a Car with Street View

BMW i Born Electric allows you to take a virtual test drive in the BMW i8 Concept or the BMW i3 Concept with Google Maps and Street View.

After you select which car you want to drive and the route you wish to take you are placed in the driving seat of your car. Through the windshield you have a great view of your route, thanks to Street View. A small map shows your current location and how much power you have in your electric battery.

If you select the 'Interior 360' option you can pan around inside the car and get a 360 degree interior view of the car and a 360 exterior view of your location in Street View.

The Google Maps of the Year - Part One

Having illogically posted Part Two of The Google Maps of the Year yesterday, today we get The Google Maps of the Year - Part One.

The Google Maps of the Year - Part One is a round-up of some of the best maps produced with the Google Maps API during January to June 2012. It includes links to some great maps and in conjunction with Part One (July-December 2012) shows both the power and the flexibility of the Google Maps API.

The Cost of Two Turtle Doves on Google Maps

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me two turtle doves. - The cheapskate! According to the PNC Christmas Price Index the cost of two turtle doves is the same in 2012 as it was in 2011.

Every year PNC Bank shows the current cost of each of the gifts mentioned in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas and compares the cost to previous years. This year the PNC Christmas Price Index has created a fun Google Maps Street View game to explore the current cost of the twelve gifts.

The game takes the user on a journey around the world using Street View. For example, to find out the cost of two French doves you need to visit the Eiffel Tower on Street View and find and feed two hungry birds before this year's price of two French doves is revealed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spain's Jewish History on Google Maps

Spain's Red de Juderías de España has partnered with Google to release a new website highlighting Spain's Jewish history.

Caminos de Sefarad uses Google Maps and Google Maps Street View to allow users to visit and tour Spanish cities and discover Spain’s Jewish past. Clicking on a map marker opens an information window with historical information about the selected location and the option to view a 360º panorama using Street View.

The mapped locations can be explored by category, type, geographic zone and date. In total, 523 sites, 910 dates, and 1,667 pictures have been mapped.

Via: Google Europe Blog

Also See

The 100 Best Google Maps of the Year

Around this time of the year I normally look back at the best Google Maps that have been created in the previous twelve months. Each year, as the quality of applications created with the Google Maps API gets more and more impressive, it gets more and more difficult to single out just one or two maps from the hundreds of amazing maps reviewed on Google Maps Mania.

This year I therefore decided to pick the 100 Best Google Maps of the Year. Because 100 screenshots are a lot of images to display on one page I'm splitting this into two parts and (perversely) I'm starting with Part Two picked from the maps reviewed from July to December.

Part One of the 100 Best Google Maps of the Year will come tomorrow!

Google Maps Field Trips

I finally downloaded the Field Trip app for Android this week and it has quickly become one of my favorite apps.

Field Trip is a great guide to the interesting and cool points of interest around you. Field Trip can help you learn about everything from local history to the latest and best places to shop, eat, and have fun. If you open up the Field Trip app it will tell you about points of interest nearby and even how far away they are.

If you open up the map view you can view all the listed places to visit on a handy Google Map. Field Trip can even send you push notifications when you are near something interesting. When you get close to something interesting, it pops up a card with details about the location. If you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you.

If you live in a large town or city or if you are visiting somewhere new then Field Trip is a great way to discover cool new places. If you live in a small town then Field Trip is probably less likely to be an essential app, however, even if you only make an occasional trip to the big city, you won't regret installing Field Trip.

Currently Field Trip works in the US and the UK. An iOS app is also coming soon.

Google Maps Collections

I just want to give a little shout out today to a couple of non-English language websites that are collecting interesting Google Maps Street Views and satellite views in Poland and the Netherlands.

StreetView Blog is a Polish based collection of interesting Street Views. The site posts funny Street Views found on Google Maps in Poland and the rest of the world. StreetView Blog also posts interesting satellite views that have been found on Google Maps.

In the Netherlands Bekijk De Wereld is dedicated to providing the latest Google Maps and Google Earth news in Dutch.

As well as all the latest interesting news about Google Maps and Google Earth Bekijk De Wereld has put together a number of interesting categorised collections of Google Maps satellite views.

Also See these English Language Websites