Looking At The Future Of Mapping APIs

It seems like only yesterday that MapQuest and Yahoo! ruled the roost with their mapping options made available to their users. Flash forward into today, and we have Google and Bing taking center stage.

But as this article on the state of mapping APIs points out, this is fast becoming a young company’s game. And at the head of this movement are the APIs available to take the future of mapping technology forward.

There should be an image here!The future appears fuzzy, though, as to whether or not the open technologies will win or if, instead, the future of mapping will be with solutions like Silverlight. The one constant that I think everyone can agree with, though, is that most of the innovations will be taking open mapping options or available map APIs and running with them. It’s often the new, fresh companies that come up with the latest and greatest ideas.

Finding Your Way With A Phone Map

There should be an image here!I hate it when I get lost. And without the help of someone who knows where they’re going, this happens to me more than I might like to admit. All of that being said, most people don’t really stop to think about getting lost in say, the local mall. But for those people visiting an area for the first time, having a mobile phone app that can provide you with a way to locate needed services is a real plus.

Enter the wonderful world of indoor map makers. As explained by this article, mobile apps for indoor maps are becoming a very popular concept. Think about it, folks needing to find something critical like the nearest bathroom could save themselves an unfortunate problem by having access to maps like this.

What is likely to happen in the future, is the localized maps will begin to be more dynamic, offering help for malls, schools and other indoor spaces that need to be mapped for those who visit the halls of these locations. Personally, I think options like this are great. They can prove to be a huge time saver. There is really no question about it. The next step will be seeing more augmented reality mapping taking place, assuming the trends continue as they have been.

Google’s Wardriving Blowback

There should be an image here!It’s almost like Google lives in another universe. Seriously, how in the world does Google figure we’re okay with it essentially wardriving on our Wi-Fi access points as its little “Maps-mobile car” drives by?

Well, it looks like in the UK, this is being viewed as a criminal act by some folks. Stateside, I see this as being perceived as a privacy violation at worst. But the big fact that needs to be considered here is Google should not be doing this in the first place.

Google, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Consider a little thing us Earthlings like to call common sense. You know, that thing that keeps us from playing in traffic or sniffing data that doesn’t belong to you when you’re driving by someone’s home or business.

[Photo above by Djuliet / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Ali Jahangiri]

Google Maps Refresh, Complete With Temp Jobs

I’m all for seeing a local economy adding jobs to those available out there. But it would be nice if it wasn’t to fix something that shouldn’t have been broken in the first place.

Seems that Google Maps‘ misleading mistakes have created a large enough issue that Google was forced to spend some of its cash reserves on temp workers to fix the problem.

With any luck, these new jobs added will lead to permanent work for many of the temp workers. One can only hope, anyway. But the one outcome that I think we can expect from all of this is Google Maps receiving a badly needed fix to the data being referenced.

[awsbullet:Google Maps Hacks]

Google Street View Gets Local

Local businesses inside of Google Maps, is honestly the best thing for maps since sliced bread. Not entirely how great the reception is going to be in more rural areas.

But those areas that we see in more metro areas, plus the bonus of street view..the small businesses able to participate are likely going to reap some great rewards.

The linked article hits the nail on the head with the idea that Google opting to “own” local search. Should be interesting to see how far they can take it.

Advanced Google Earth

We’ve all been around enough to have experienced the value that Google has provided in contrast to some of the other less worthwhile map services. But this time, Google really out did themselves.

Enter a very different way of looking at Google Earth. Instead of just more views of cities and other stuff like that, you will find amazing, inspiring views in Google Earth.

Clearly, this is more zooming goodness than we could ever want. Mars, Sky, flight simulator – Google’s got it all.

EveryTrail

Where I live, I’m close to a variety of scenic hiking trails, and my wife and I try to enjoy them as much as we can. Of course, the trails we regularly visit are near where we live, but there are countless trails of all different kinds around the world that can be enjoyed and you probably have a few of them near you, too. Instead of just visiting the trails and moving on, you can actually track your trip with EveryTrail.

The next time you travel down a trail, you’ll want to take along your GPS device or smartphone to record your progress. If you use a GPS device, you can upload your trip down the trail and the service will create a mapped version of your trek for you to review. You can also upload pictures from your trip and post them at specific points on the map. The cool thing about using a smartphone is that you can publish your trip and pictures from your mobile device right away. Your various trips can be embedded and shared in in many different ways, and your trip may even be an inspiration for someone who wants to follow your footsteps and enjoy the trip themselves.

MapQuest Is Getting Serious

There should be an image here!MapQuest appears to be taking the encroachment from Bing and Google more seriously these days. Just learned that they added 700,000 new businesses into their existing database. As dated as Google can be sometimes, I welcome any kind of strong competition from MapQuest.

The big question is taking the “new” MapQuest out for a test drive when I have some free time. Hopefully it will live up to my expectations and smaller communities have been accurately included in the given updates.

MapQuest was at one time, a favorite of mine. Long before Bing and even before Google was used in my household for mapping. Hopefully, this signals the rebirth of MapQuest.

Coupons And Google Maps

There should be an image here!Recently it seems like Google has put a lot of work into seeing itself go local. And this is a good thing. But in this tough economy, the single biggest thing that needs to happen is helping out small businesses while saving their patrons money. Google might have something for that.

Today I learned that Google is looking to integrate coupons, local ones, into its maps. And while this is great news, I was dismayed to learn that this functionality is both a ways off and will potentially not be available be hidden for iPhone users.

Still, there is something to be said about making this kind of thing available from a long term perspective. I remain a bit fuzzy on how redemption is to work out, but I am sure Google has plans for this as well.

[awsbullet:coupon]

A Real Estate Book For Google?

There should be an image here!One might not think it to be such a grand idea for Google to get into the real estate business at this point. However, considering it is merely offering listings for houses available at its maps site, it actually makes a lot of sense.

I don’t have to tell most of you out there that this move does wonders to boost the visual perspective for any featured real estate. And at the same time, I doubt that any real estate agents are struggling too hard with it either.

Adding further value to this is the option that Google users can also search for things nearby — such as grocery shopping, schools, parks, etc. This alone makes the real estate offering from Google a very big deal in a seriously wounded marketplace.

[awsbullet:real estate tips]

Google Maps Meets Enemy Of The State

There should be an image here!Despite being frustrated with Google on other projects, their Maps project continues to impress me day after day. Whether it’s me using it on my iPhone or even at the computer. No matter where it is used, it never ceases to provide me with the data I am looking for.

Blast forward to a new featured recently added to Google Maps where you can zoom in on practically anything. Seriously, this is really creepy. You can zoom in on some people’s homes with fairly decent accuracy.

Thankfully however, only some places zoom in with total accuracy. Because if every place did this, I can see lawsuits being filed even though they would likely fall over in court in most cases. Still, I can understand the uneasy feeling about it nonetheless.

When Google Comes Knocking

I have to say, impressed and creeped out is how I would describe my feelings on the latest results on Google’s street view for Google Maps. I cannot get over just how much coverage this things has these days! I have checked on a number of addresses for known bigger streets in these smaller towns – all of them are showing up.

This may sound odd, but it feels like we are being indexed by Google for easier searching, does it not? Normally I would not have such a problem with this, except that it just “feels” wrong at some core level. Harmless for most I suppose, but very wrong nonetheless.

Just how good is this new coverage area? Based on the map featured here, I would say that this appears to be better than the maps provided for cell phone coverage. The only thing that is a bummer is the fact that I could not get street view of my favorite restaurant in town. That would have been a cool bonus!

Flagr

I always enjoy visiting new places, and it’s fun to tell others about the adventures that took place on various trips. In most cases, travelers wait until they get home or get connected to the Internet at a hotel or other establishment on the road to share the stories, tips, and media that they have accumulated from their travels, but by the time this information gets out there, the moments have already passed, and the information is quickly becoming dated. Thanks to Flagr, you can share this data online at a later time or right away with text messaging on your mobile phone.

The immediacy and up-to-date nature of the service make it a special tool to look into. When you find a cool place, flag it on the map, write a description, upload photos, and embed any video that you may have recorded while you were there. You can also create custom maps and then place them on your Web site in order to share them with others. One map has even built a community out of documenting decent public restrooms. Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go. Ultimately, you’ll be able to use Flagr to find and document new places and keep up with your friends.

EveryScape

Whenever I’m about to visit a new city or explore a somewhat familiar one, I always like to do research to get an idea of what I can expect. First of all, what restaurants will be nearby? Also, what options will I have for entertainment? These are important questions to get the answers to, but the list goes on. Online maps and images have been a tremendous help with providing information, but EveryScape fuses them together in an interesting way that will make you feel like you’ve already arrived at the destination even though you’re still sitting behind your computer.

Using the technology that is offered by this service, you can quite literally walk the streets of a particular city through your browser. Panoramic pictures exist for you to navigate through, and you can be in control of where you go and what you look at. Instead of just reading about some of the popular places, you can actually see them, and in some cases, you can even go inside and take a look around. EveryScape only has a small handful of cities available for exploration at this time, and the site didn’t exactly perform extremely well or consistently, but as they expand and improve, hopefully this will change.

[tags]EveryScape, City, Maps, Restaurants, Entertainment, Panoramic Pictures[/tags]

HousingMaps

The process of finding a place to live can be very daunting, and depending on your circumstances, it can be one of the most stressful things to experience, especially if you only have a short amount of time in which to make something happen. I recently bought a new house, and I’ve been living here for almost three months. All I can say is that I’m glad the process is over. Despite all of the work, it can be worth it if you end up in a place that you love, and that’s how I feel about my real estate purchase. Whether you decide to buy or rent, there are usually plenty of listings on the market, and you’ll probably end up feeling overwhelmed by the amount of homes that are available to research. To get some geographic housing help, use HousingMaps.

If you’ve ever heard of craigslist before, then you know that it’s a resource that people can use to find listings for places to live in the area that they’re interested in (among other things). HousingMaps takes some of these listings and combines them with Google Maps so that you can find results in a familiar and simplified way. Once you’ve selected the city, you can then narrow your search down even further by being specific with the desired price range and miscellaneous keywords. Go ahead – find your new home today.

[tags]google maps,craigslist,maps,real estate,home,house,housingmaps,housing[/tags]