Google’s Street View was released a year ago and includes imagery for 37 major metropolitan areas in the US. In addition to the stand-alone version, Street View is now included in Google Maps directions. Street View directions make it possible for users to virtually tour new destinations before their arrival. Using Google Maps Street View in directions is simple: click on the “Get directions” tab and if Street View imagery is available it will be indicated by a camera icon and outlined in blue.
The Google Maps “Public Transit” feature allows users to map entire trips using public transportation and all within Google Maps. To use this feature, search for directions in Google Maps and if transit information is available it will be indicated by a “Public Transit” option in the directions tab. With this option users can get step-by-step transit directions in addition to transit stop locations, station information, schedules and more.
Most folks know about the “Traffic” feature in Google Maps but, now users can use Google Maps for information about future traffic conditions. To use the feature, click on “change” in the “Live Traffic” box near the upper right hand corner of your traffic map. Google Maps “Traffic” uses traffic data from 30 major US metropolitan areas to map traffic flow in real-time so drivers know what areas to avoid. Traffic conditions in Google Maps are denoted by color. Green means traffic is moving at an average speed of more than 50mph, yellow 25-50mph, red indicates traffic is moving at less than 25mph and gray indicates that data is not available.
Thanks to Wikipedia’s Geographical coordinates Google Maps now includes Wikipedia articles in Maps results relevant to user queries and based on the geographical location of results. According to Wikipedia, “Any Wikipedian may participate in this project to better organize information in articles containing geographical coordinates.” The example below shows a search for “Atlanta” and includes a Wikipedia icon for the Georgia Aquarium at “Coordinates 33.76250, -84.39400” top right in the page.
Google Video and YouTube users have the option of providing geographic information when entering descriptions for their videos. Google Maps uses this information to map videos and make them available in Google Maps based on geographic location.
When users find an error in a Google Maps locations or details, they can correct it using the “Edit” feature. By using the edit feature users can remove a place, add new places, flag inappropriate content and even view the edit history for locations in Google Maps. Google’s “Recent Edits” shows edits by other users in real-time.
In addition to all of the above, user can create their own maps in Google Maps: Customizing Google Maps is easy! Google Maps allows users to overlay weather, photos, public transit maps and original content. In addition, Google Maps allows users to interact with Google Maps tools and maps created by Google developers. Google Maps users can share, personalize, track and save maps all by setting up a Google Maps account. You might want to check out some of these features next time you pay a visit to Google’s mapping program.
Example “My map" for Georgia Tech’s Conference on RSS
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