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The Growing List of Things You Can Do With Google Maps  (View post)

Kyle Wegner [PersonRank 1]

Thursday, June 12, 2008
14 years ago3,969 views

Google Maps is becoming increasingly useful all the time as "Universal Search" is a higher priority for Google. gMaps recently added Atlanta, my hometown, to their Street View library and I never knew just how useful it was. I've used it to sight see different cities before, but being able to see each obscure twist and turn on my normal directions is a huge added bonus.

Mary Bowling [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I love the new "enhanced" Google Maps listings and how I can to a great extent, control what is displayed. It doesn't take much playing around before you figure out how to choose the photo that's shown in your listing in the results, or how to define and display "attributes" to your advantage.

It's astounding how in some industries and marketplaces, like hotels, nearly every one has it figured out. However, in many many others, there are obviously only a few businesses creating appealing listings that give them a big advantage over their competitors.

I encourage everyone to take another look at their listing and make certain it's all that it can be. We all know that won't last long, though, so grab this advantage while you can.

beussery [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

[put at-character here]Kyle
Great point Kyle, Google Universal SERPs include maps, video, news, books and more. You're also right in that Google StreetView did add Atlanta, GA my hometown as well on Tuesday. Believe it or not, Tuesday marked StreetView's 1st birthday!

[put at-character here]Mary
While it may seem like lots of folks in some industries have figured it out, closer inspection seems to indicate that is not always the case.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

That's a nice list of new things which you CAN do with Google Maps. It would also interesting to see a list of things which you CAN'T do with Google Maps.

I'll start by mentioning that you can't download the underlying dataset for use in your own mashups. This would allow people to do some really cool things, but it's unlikely to ever happen due to the proprietary nature of the underlying data.

Google Maps also doesn't usefully support maps of walking routes (paths which are open to people but not to cars) or, for that matter, of cycle paths.

Google Maps doesn't include many parts of the world. For example, here's Google's map of the Isle of Man:

Here's the version from OpenStreetMap:

OpenStreetMap is basically Wikipedia for maps. Anyone can edit the map. Right now, it's where Wikipedia was a few years ago. Some areas are completely mapped, and some are not there yet. The idea is that you can take a GPS around your area, then upload the GPS track to the OpenStreetMap website then trace over the lines and label the roads.

Like Wikipedia, anyone can change the map (although you do need to register). Like Wikipedia, it works because – on average – every person is more likely to improve the map than to worsen it.

And anyone can download the dataset (Creative Commons By-SA) so if you want to write a program to render only the routes that allow horses, or if you want to to render every pub with its nearest car park, or if you want to add contour lines, you can just do it.

Here's a link to OpenStreetMap, showing an area near my house that I and a few others have mapped (it took about ten hours):

And I can print that map onto a business card and give it out legally – something which Google Maps doesn't allow me to do.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I'd never seen OpenStreetMap before. It's an amazing accomplishment!

Sheldon [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Google Maps is an amazing product, I can't remember the last time I used a paper map, and Street View is so cool. Google Rocks!!!

[Link removed – Tony]

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