Thursday, April 05, 2007

Google Maps My Maps - Dynamic Google Mashups

Ever wanted to create a Google Maps mashup but lacked the Javascript skills?

Google have just released 'My Maps', a service that lets you create your own Google mashups on the fly within the Google Maps interface. The interface lets you add markers, lines, and draw polygons. Each marker can have a full HTML description including full text, images, and videos.

Once you've finished creating your mashup you can publish it for others to search and find, or share it privately with friends, family, or workmates. There's even an option to export to KML for use in Google Earth.

The interface provides the same 'get directions to / from here' options you get with Google Maps, so the resulting mashups are even more useful than before.

Here's an example I've started for Test Cricket Venues that will eventually replace my existing cricket stadium mashup.

This service is amazing.
  • Use it at home with Picasaweb to share your holiday pictures with your family and friends. Draw lines across the world to demonstrate where you've been and where you're going.
  • Office based Google users can map their clients and projects.
  • Plan your next holiday. Put markers in possible destination along with details and links for each hotel / country / beach you plan on visiting.
  • Integrate with Google Calendar to show exactly where events are taking place, with annotations describing venue features, possible parking locations and detailed directions.

My call: Best Google innovation of 2007 so far.

What's missing?

  • Sub folders for markers / lines / polygons to add some structure.
  • Ability to 'hide' lines / polygons so they're on the map but don't appear in the left hand list.
  • Custom marker images. Need to be able to add markers using uploaded / linked images.
  • Being able to measure distances.

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