Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our Favorites: Get Outdoors!

As a Googler, I spend most of my weekdays behind the keyboard and mouse, so I like to recharge on the weekends by getting outdoors to enjoy the best that Northern California has to offer.

Let me introduce myself: I'm Billy Rutledge, a manager, tech-lead and advocate for Google Developer Relations. As part of the "Our Favorites" blog series, I want to highlight a few web sites that have done a great job implementing the Google Maps APIs to help people like you and me spend more time under the sun.

WikiLoc

This site uses the JavaScript Maps API to let users upload and share GPS tracks. It embeds the Panoramio GLayer to let users see photos near their waypoints, and also displays an altitude chart for your track.

It also supports input/export of common GPS file formats. They offer a native mobile phone app that captures GPS points and uploads the data to the site for you.

Additionally, they let you create your own tracks by placing points on the map and rendering them as polylines.

GPSies - Tracks for Vagabonds

GPSies - Tracks for Vagabonds Another site for managing GPS tracks, which works great with free, native mobile applications for Android and iPhone devices.

The mobile apps are simple and easy to use, helping you monitor and save your tracks, and then upload them over the air to GPSies where they are visible in your tracks list.

The visualization is a robust JavaScript Maps API implementation that overlays a polyline across the GPS points. Nice additions include mile marker points (also in metric), integrated altitude charts that follow the polyline with mouse-move events, and integration of the DragZoomControl for easier zooming into an area of interest.

Trailspotting.com

This outdoor site boasts an outstanding collection of hiking trails in Northern California and Hawaii. In-depth reviews, photos and comments are coupled with Google My Maps for visualization.

Stuart and Jenna, the outdoor enthusiasts who run this terrific site, go the extra mile to include enhanced content like area facts, photography, nearby POI, and location web sites.

Topo! Explorer

I bought the 10 CD set of Topo! from NatGeo years ago and really enjoyed browsing/zooming into locations, then printing my own weatherproof map before embarking on an expedition.

Today, they've made this much easier. A free registration gets you access to browse the latest Topo! maps which uses our JavaScript Maps API as a framework to explore their custom map tiles.

These are just a few of the many great sites devoted to finding that perfect place to get some fresh air. I look forward to uncovering new sites in the future, as developers are always finding innovative ways to integrate the Maps APIs and outdoor exploration!

Billy Rutledge - Google Developer Relations