Thursday, November 1, 2012

Map of the Week: Ubilabs

Map of the Week: Ubilabs

[Editors Note: Earlier this month we lauched morethanamap.com to showcase the unique features of the Google Maps API. As part of this project, each week we’ll be featuring one story from our global community of developers who are using the Google Maps API to start businesses, help improve their communities or save the environment.]

This week we move on from Nairobi to Hamburg, where we met with Ubilabs. In the middle of Hamburg’s old town is a rapidly growing workshop of developers, designers, and business people focused on building the next generation of Google Maps powered applications. Their speciality has been used to build applications for Europe’s largest brands such as Deutsche Telekom, Blitzer.de, and BMW. Below are a few examples built by Ubilabs that showcase great design and community action powered by the Google Maps API.

Crowd-sourcing to Fix Real Estate Problems
In a thriving city, real estate comes at a premium and sometimes people take advantage of that scarcity by mislabeling or misusing available real estate. To combat this problem, Ubilabs was called upon to build Leerstandsmelder.de (or the "Vacancy Reporter") in which users exchange information about the activities of a given property on a Google Map. Users can upload address data, photos, and detailed information here. They can also coordinate their search using Google Street View imagery integrated on the site. The result is that users can pool their collective knowledge to document alleged misuses and use this resource to lobby their local government to take action.


Showcasing a Global Brand
When Deutsche Telekom relaunched their corporate website they used Ubilabs and Google Maps to build a showcase of all of their affiliated companies and holdings worldwide. What makes this map great is that it uses several Google Maps API features to create a customized experience to reflect the corporate identity of Deutsche Telekom. Features like Styled Maps are used to match corporate colors, while custom markers, navigation and info windows complete a distinct identity. What's most unique about this map is the use of Google Maps as both the background and the foreground on the page. The map extends across the entire page with navigational menus floating on top of the map. The design flexibility, speed, and responsiveness of the Google Maps API are part what makes a design like this possible.


In the video below, Ubilabs co-founders Martin Kleppe and Michael Pletziger give us a live demonstration of these great projects.



Many thanks to the Ubilabs team for inviting us into their office and sharing with us their latest projects. To learn more about Ubilabs and the things that you can do with the Google Maps API, visit morethanamap.com. Tune in next week to read about our visit with Epungo in São Paulo, Brazil.