The $3.4 billion market for local search is heating up between Yahoo, Google, America Online, MSN Virtual Earth and Amazon's A-9, with mapping a key component.
But maps come in different flavors and may not have a search component.
Take, for example, the Akamai Net News Index. It offers a near real-time display of internet interests in major regions of the world.
helps speed delivery of 15 percent of the world's Internet traffic over
its network. Because its computers serve up billions of pages of news
to Internet readers each day, Akamai is in the unique position of being
able to track news consumption on a global scale.
- Aggregate, real-time visitors per minute on over 100 global news portals
- Map site traffic levels by continent over a 24-hour period
- Show historical trends and chronicle the world's collective attention.
But who (really) cares what's happening on a global scale. News,
like politics, is local. The rest is filler. Cyber maps of local news,
friends, and events might be more interesting — and useful.
was the real breakthrough. Their open API allowed developers to roll
their own interfaces, embedding Google Maps in their own web pages with
GeoBloggers, Google Maps Mania and many others.
Google Earth (the
downloadable application), can swoop in from space and circle as you
please. Navigational tools let you zip around any locale, moving in and
out, panning around, and circling.
Even though Google Earth's world is mainly based on flat satellite photos, it does some trickery with perspective that results in a surprisingly three-dimensional look, such as in this view of Wrigley Park (above). WiGLE.net is a submission-based catalog of wireless networks. Portland's WiFi hotspots use Google Maps.
O'Reily has collected a flood of new map hacks. Here's O'Reilly's Collection of Map Hacking Goodies:
- Weather on a Google map, with clever use of custom icons to indicate wind speed and direction.
- How to geotag photos.
- How to make KML files for Google Earth. Don't miss Google's KML tutorial and KML reference.
- Map of free Wifi in NYC. It's worth noting that Google Local does this too, but without a master directory.
Double-click on the map to mark waypoints, and the app tells you the
total distance defined by the waypoints. You must click at every
intersection, otherwise it assumes you can walk through buildings,
because Google hasn't exposed a routing API.
- Google Maps Transparencies
lets you view a street map in the context of the satellite photo of the
area. It's interesting how the map doesn't line up with the photo. It's
unclear how much of this is a datum problem (c.f. the Google Earth demo
at Where 2.0 where someone in the audience pointed out that the
overlaid road didn't line up with the actual road) and how much is the
natural fuzziness of the Ajax UI being imprecise about clicks and
- Yahoo! News over a Yahoo! map.
Either the app or the Yahoo! maps API seemed easily confused by
clicking and dragging: it was soon displaying the wrong map for the
points (or vice-versa).
- Google Earth Hacks is a blog devoted to cool stuff done with Google Earth. Notable examples: London Attacks and Tour de France locations. The site seems more about being a downloads.com for KML files that about actually hacking stuff with Google Earth.
- Been Mapped is adding
community to the Google satellite imagery sightseeing craze. You can
build your own playlist, vote and rank locations, etc.
- Find US webcams by zipcode. This is slow and doesn't appear to contain nekkid web cams, so I don't predict it will take the net by storm.
- Latest 2.5+ earthquakes. Uses mygmaps as the platform. Mmm, Pacific Rim of Fire goodness!
plots publicly-available incident data (only available for selected
cities, as it relies on the local cities/counties putting the
information online and most don't).
- Vancouver tourist map. Very cool!
CyberGeography.org (above) has dozens of inspired maps of internet and global connectivity.
A real-time map might take the form of a sculptured shape; trees, mountains, a mascot or a baby in ElWire. Transform her.
U/C Berkeley has found a speedy way to capture a city. Using a concept dubbed “virtualized reality,” they mix LiDar with digital imaging to scan a city, and can build a 3D model of a whole city in about an hour.
Soon, $300 X-Boxes will produce real-time 3D graphics the likes
of which the world has never seen. 3D goggles will soon allow immersive
data mining. Cheap. Global. Real-time.