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Google’s “My Maps”

by Rob Friesel

Google: My Maps: Vermont PanoramicsGoogle launched “My Maps” this week and it seems to be all over the place. It’s a fun, addictive little toy; a nice addition to their already pretty awesome map system. Brady Forrest called it “a direct shot across the bow of sites like Platial and Frappr” — and while I don’t necessarily agree with the aggressive connotations of the “direct shot” part, he does hit it with the bit about geo-indexing individual web sites. That’s pretty rad. (Don’t bother with the comments. Nothing of value there.) It’ll definitely be interesting to see how this grows and layers it adds to Google’s model (esp. w/r/t/ local search…)

Anyway, enough tech punditry: this shit is fun.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I spent the better part of my morning building out this “Vermont Panoramics” map. Sure, all these photos were already geotagged in Flickr but the Yahoo! maps just don’t have the same granularity, the same level of detail as Google’s. 1 So it’s been pretty neat, playing around with it. Getting the feel of the tools, dropping content into it and onto it, all of that good stuff.

And if they’re reading (indexing? crawling?), here’s my My Maps wishlist:

  • If I draw a line, I should get the distance. This is going to be critical to making this a success.
  • Similarly: if I draw a shape, I should get the area.
  • Let me make my own “push pin” icons.
  • Latitude/longitude entry. I know that some folks like being arbitrary and guess. I tend to favor precision whenever and wherever possible.
  • Public vs. private maps is nice but what if I’d like to open up the map a little? Not just make the map public but really and truly share it with folks? Let them add push pins as well?

UPDATE:  I left out the part about plugging the KML into Google Earth for the fly-arounds and another take on the location surfing.  It’s pretty damned cool.

currently playing: Shunt Limit “As Time Goes By (Luke Jay mix)”

  1. I mean seriously: in the Yahoo! map, my house is a pixelated blur and in Google’s I can see the foundation and know that the image was taken while it was under construction. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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