Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Great Maps... That are just great!

Each month I try to focus on 5 great maps within a certain theme, but this month Google Geo developers have really outdone themselves and I’ve been blown away by a flurry of great new Maps API applications across the board. I’ve been especially impressed by the new uses I’ve seen of Styled Maps, Fusion Tables, and our new Places API.

InstaEarth

Instagram is an exciting photography tool, but what really takes Instagram to the next level are applications like InstaEarth from Modea. InstaEarth is an easy way to search for and discover Instragram users and photos on a map. The application makes use of the Places API with Autocomplete to help users to search around a landmark or address. From InstaEarth, “InstaEarth is a way to discover and view beautiful Instagram photography taken around the world. View your feed, friends' feeds, popular photos, or navigate the map and explore the world through the eyes of Instagrammers everywhere.”

TeleGeography - Submarine Cable Map

When you make a phone call or send an email abroad, most of the time that data travels by way of submarine cables. Submarine cables are the backbone of the global economy, so it’s fascinating to spend time exploring a map that shows where these cables are located. In addition to being a really interesting, fun, and a great looking map, this map is also technically savvy application. Each line representing a submarine cable is clickable and when selected grays out the other cables for better visibility. The map also uses Styled Maps to help the cables stand out better and Fusion Tables to help manage the data on the back-end.

DART St. Louis

There are two things I love to geek out on: maps and photography. That’s why I love this map from DART St. Louis. From their website, “In April 2011 over 250 creative St. Louisans gathered to throw darts at a huge map of the City of St. Louis. Participants then had one month to visit the area where their dart landed and make a photograph. The resulting collection of photographs shows a snapshot of St. Louis as it is today, one random block at a time.”

Berliner Morgenpost - Berlin Elections Map

Last month I wrote a post about a 5 Great Maps from Germany and this month we have yet another great map from Germany. Using Fusion Tables, Berliner Morgenpost mapped out the results of the September 2011 Berlin elections. Voting districts are colored coded by which political party received the majority of votes. Additionally, you can click on any one of the voting districts which will display an infowindow with a chart of the full voting results. This an excellent example of Google Maps API supporting the democratic process and bringing better transparency to government.

Dodge Journey Search

To promote the new Dodge Journey, Dodge is running a competition on YouTube where users can win one of three brand new Dodge Journeys. Video clues are released on YouTube to help users track down the secret location of the vehicle and if they find it, they own it. The clues are related to places in the real world, so users can rely on Google Maps and Places to help them figure out where the car is located. The Maps API serves as the hub of information for this competition and uses Styled Maps to match Dodge branding along with the Places API with Autocomplete to help users follow up on clues.