Monday, November 16, 2009

Mapsicle 1.0: Annotating Street View Panoramas

Hi, I'm John Clegg of ProjectX. We build a range of map applications such as journeyplanners and addressing tools in Wellington, New Zealand. We have been working on a library to add more functionality to Street View called Mapsicle.


Ever since the release of Google Street View in 2007, we have been thinking about how we could enhance it. It wasn't until Street View arrived in New Zealand in December 2008 that we finally decided to build a prototype called Mapsicle (Maps meets Popsicle).


The prototype showed how you could easily overlay content such as markers and InfoWindows onto Street View. We showed Mapsicle to a few people including the Google Maps API team who were excited about what it could do. We asked Google if we could submit Mapsicle into the Maps Util library to ensure that we accelerate the development of Street View as a maps application platform. After a couple of months of testing and bug fixing, we are happy to announce that Mapsicle v1.0 is now live.


What can Mapsicle do ?


Using Mapsicle library, you can do a lot of interesting things:


  • Create and show markers at various locations on Street View such as Disneyland Paris

  • Show markers that are outside of the field of view such as the NZ flag marker above.

  • Create InfoWindows at locations.


Getting Started


To try it out yourself, read through the developer's guide and reference, and check out the examples that show how to implement custom infowindows, markers, and map integration.


The world of possibilities


Now that Street View is being extended via the Street View partner program, Mapsicle could be used to create a whole range of maps applications…


  • Advanced Store locators: Create store locators that show exactly how to get to your store from the user's current location.
  • Interactive tours: Combine Street View with content to give tours of the streets of the world.
  • Digital signage: Create interactive advertising on Street View using video and images.
  • Interactive kiosk: Build a touch screen information kiosk for visitors.
  • Games: Build a treasure hunt application or a racing game to drive around Thunderhill raceway.

As one example of the possibilities, we created a fun little mashup called StreetTag.

Thanks to the team


Kudos to the entire team at ProjectX, in particular:

  • Stephen Davis, who created and named the Mapsicle prototype.
  • Cameron Prebble, who has been working on building lots of demos and the front end experience.
  • Thong Kuah, for managing the project and pushing us to open source.
  • Raja Bhadhury, who has been helping us test and refine Mapsicle over the last few months.

We've had a lot of fun building Mapsicle and we're really excited to see what cool things geo developers are going to do with it. We'd love your help to build out Mapsicle and add more features. You can contribute to the project by joining the Google Maps API Utility Library, and you can let us know how you're using the library by posting in the forum. Enjoy!