News > Google Maps

Through the Secret Door of Street View

Category: Google Maps | Feb 18, 2013

The Secret Door is a new and impressively designed Street View portal, that can magically transport you around the world using Google Map’s interactive panoramic imagery.

There is nothing particularly revolutionary about The Secret Door and there are already a number of well established sites that allow the user to explore a series of random Street Views. However the Secret Door does have a couple of very nice touches. I really like the background music and in particular the sound effect that is used when you are transported to a new Street View.

My favourite Google Maps Street View slide-show remains MapCrunch.

Like The Secret Door MapCrunch allows you to view a series of random Street Views. However MapCrunch includes the option to narrow the Street Views shown by location and by type of view. You can select to see just urban views, indoor Street Views and to define the time delay before a new Street View is shown.

MapCrunch also includes a View of the Day gallery. The gallery is a great collection of some of the best Street Views found on Google Maps.


Guild Wars 2 on Google Maps

Category: Google Maps | Feb 18, 2013

Orrmaps is a Google Map for high level players of Guild Wars 2.

Players with a high level in Guild Wars 2 need to gather Orichalcum ore and Ancient wood to create weapons. These materials can be gathered in the Machlor’s Leap, Cursed Shore, and Frostgorge Sound. However the locations of these materials in Guild Wars 2 changes every week and are different by server.

Orrmaps keeps track of the locations of Orichalcum ore and Ancient wood by server, and new maps are automatically created each week.

The Guild Wars 2 Interactive Map is another useful map of the fantasy world of Tyria used in Guild Wars 2.

Using the map it is possible to find dungeons, waypoints and other
important locations used in the game. The map also includes an editing
tool so that users can add and submit their own knowledge of locations
used in the game to the map.

The drop-down menus at the top of the map allow users to add points of
interest to the map in a number of categories. When users have finished
adding their knowledge to the map they simply need to click the ‘send
for approval’ button.

This Guild Wars 2 WvW Map is another Google Map of the world of Tyria used in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

The map follows a now familiar pattern for on-line game maps, allowing
the user to view important locations in the game using the Google Maps
controls. The map allows users to view the locations of Towers, Keeps,
Supply Camps, Spawns, Castles and Orbs.

One nice new feature introduced by the Guild Wars 2 WvW Map is the
ability to add weapons to the map. When you add a siege equipment to the
map the range of the weapon is also displayed which should greatly help
players in planning their campaigns.  


The Google Maps of the Week

Category: Google Maps | Feb 17, 2013

It has been a week where crime maps seem to have been omnipresent on Google Maps Mania. This week we saw three very different approaches to mapping crime, each approach with its own advantages and disadvantages.

The Washintgton Post has used the Google Maps API to create a map based
visualisation of homicides in the city between 2000 and 2011.

The interactive map Homicides in the District
shows the locations of all the homicide victims.The visualisation
includes a number of animated heat maps that allow you to view homicide
rates year by year, the number of convictions each year, drug killings
by year and victims aged 20-24 by year.

It is also possible to view animations of the homicide rates by year for
specific neighborhoods by selecting a neighborhood from the list
beneath the map.

Philadelphia Homicides 2006-2012
is a map visualization that uses data from the Philadelphia Police
Department to animate all Philadelphia homicides from 2006-2012.

The visualization uses the Google Maps API with CartoDB’s Torque library. If you like the visualization then you should check out the screencast
by the developer on how he created the map. The screencast shows how
easy it is to build a compelling map visualization with Torque and the
Google Maps API. 

The Berlin Atlas of Crime is a Google Maps based visualisation of crime statistics in the German capital.

The app allows the user to view heat maps of a number of different crime
statistics, including burglary, drug offences, vehicle theft etc. For
each generated heat map it is possible to select an individual
neighbourhood / borough in the city and view a breakdown of all the
crime in that area.

The data used in the map comes from the Berlin Atlas of Crime, a
biennial report published by the police of the Federal State of Berlin.


Cryptic Map Clue

Category: Google Maps | Feb 16, 2013

Here’s a little cryptic map clue. Can you name the song from the map?

The map itself was created using the canvas layer utility library. If you want to use the library yourself Pedro Sousa has written up the steps he went through whilst using the library to create a map of all the localities of mainland Portugal. Here’s the write-up and here’s the resulting map.

Pedro’s map contains about 140,000 points and so is a great example of how the canvas library can be used with the Google Maps API to plot thousands of points on a map. My map contains 4,000 points (there’s a big clue to the song)


A Slightly Rude Best of the Rest

Category: Google Maps | Feb 16, 2013

Probably the most shared on-line interactive map of the last week has been the Vaguely Rude Map.

The Vaguely Rude Map is a faithful compendium and atlas of rude place names around the world. The map has proved particularly popular with British broadsheet newspapers, so I’m assuming that the map appeals somehow to the British sense of humour.

The map’s creator Gary Gale has written a blog post explaining the British love of innuendo and how he created the map (the GeoPlanet API, Stamen map tiles, Leaflet & OSM). The map’s GitHub even includes a warning, “

“If you’re not British, it might be confusing why this is amusing”.

The most shared non-nteractive map this week has to be Neil Freeman’s Fifty States of the USA map. This map takes a radical approach to fixing the electoral college.

Freeman argues that the biggest problem with “the electoral college is that the states of the United States are too disparate in size and influence”. Freeman has therefore redrawn the map of the USA with 50 new states of equal population.

Somehow I can’t see his proposal being adopted any time soon.

My personal favourite this week was Airbnb’s mapped visualisation of their growth since 2008.

There are actually a few maps on Airbnb Annual but the first map is the most impressive.

I really like how the time-line on the map is controlled by the browser scrollbar. Scroll down on the page and observe how new markers are added to the map as the time-line progresses.


Meteor Impact Sites on Google Maps

Category: Google Maps | Feb 15, 2013

What with tonight’s pass of Asteroid 2012 DA14 and a meteor crashing into the Chelyabinsk region of Russia early this morning I’ve been spending way too much time Googling celestial bodies today.

My searching on Google did turn up this informative post from the Google Earth Blog about meteor craters. The post includes a link to a KML file of 172 meteor impact sites, with a size indicator for the largest ones. You can use Google Maps or Google Earth to browse the KML file. Here’s a link to view the list using the Google Earth browser plug-in inside Google Maps.

Also See


Plan An Ad Campaign with Google Maps

Category: Google Maps | Feb 15, 2013

UK software company Beacon Dodsworth has used Google Maps to create an outdoor advertising research and delivery system for the Netherlands.

The Outdoor Delivery System Map includes the location data of the Netherlands’ over 85,000 outdoor advertising panels. The map allows advertisers to view heat maps of an advertising campaign’s coverage and easily identify specific locations to target.

Advertisers can even identify specific regions in the Netherlands and zoom in to see the location of all the outdoor advertising panels. The panels are displayed on the map with colour-coded markers that indicate the contractor who owns each panel.

One of the main advantages of using the Google Maps API over other on-line mapping platforms is Google’s extensive Street View coverage in the Netherlands. The availability of Street View allows advertisers to target specific outdoor advertising panels and to remotely view the panel’s position and visibility using Google Maps’ interactive panoramic imagery.


Asteroid 2012 DA14’s Path

Category: Google Maps | Feb 14, 2013

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass the Earth on Friday. At around 7.30pm GMT it will be as close as 17,200 miles to the Earth.

The asteroid will be very faint, it will be thousands of times fainter than Jupiter and 250 times fainter than the stars of the Plough. However if you live in a part of the world where it is dark enough at the time the asteroid passes you should be able to see it with a good pair of binoculars or a telescope.

To find out where the asteroid will be in the night sky then check out the
HeyWhatsThat: Close Asteroid Approach. The app uses two Google Earth plugins to show the path of the asteroid. You can set your location on one Google Earth plugin and the asteroid’s location will be shown on a map of the night sky. A time-line beneath the map allows you to check the asteroid’s position at different times.


Do You Know Your ‘Hood?

Category: Google Maps | Feb 14, 2013

How well do you know the neighborhoods of your city? Click that ‘Hood will test your local knowledge with a fun little neighborhood quiz.

The game presents you with a Google Maps satellite view of your city with all the neighborhoods outlined on the map. You then have to click on the correct neighborhood when prompted by the app. You have to get 20 right in the shortest possible time.

Currently there are 16 American cities to play. Click Your ‘Hood also includes instructions on how you can create your own neighborhood quiz. All you need to do is get the shapefiles for the neighborhoods in your city and follow the simple instructions.


Asteroid Impacts on Google Maps

Category: Google Maps | Feb 14, 2013

Tomorrow Asteroid 2012 DA14 will narrowly miss hitting the Earth. The asteroid will pass so close to the Earth that it will actually pass underneath our communications satellites. The asteroid is about 160 feet across, which isn’t particularly large, but if it did hit the Earth (I repeat – it won’t) it would cause a huge amount of damage.

You can view the Meteor Crater in Arizona on Google Maps Street View. The Arizona meteor crater was caused by an asteroid which was almost exactly the same size as Asteroid 2012 DA14. The crater is 4,000 ft in diameter and 570 ft deep, and using Google Maps you can actually take a virtually walk right to the center of the crater.

If you want to know what kind of damage an asteroid this size would do to your town then chack out the Impact Calculator. This app allows you to view the potential size of an impact crater, caused by different sized asteroids, at different locations around the world.

The app uses the Google Earth browser plug-in to give you a 3d view of the potential size of an impact crater caused by different types of asteroid. 

If this has whetted your appetite to learn more about asteroids then have a look at Asterank’s 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 a little asteroid mining).