Google maps mashup revisited

by oneafrikan on March 2, 2006

I recently wrote something about Google maps, but it was pretty simple and didn’t represent any real usefulness beyond perhaps adding an interactive map to your site (of your office / offices / etc)…

What really interests me is how something like a real Google Maps mashup with data that is really useful for people, can change the way we do things… This whole internet thing has marked a change in the evolution of human communication, and being able to visualise data geographically takes this one step further. However, as with most people that have a technical slant, it’s easy to create fake data and to play to test or prove a concept, but the real proof is when you take data that is really useful for people, and make it available to them… remembering that you don’t want to re-invent the wheeel and just spit out stuff Google already has in it’s database. Otherwise your site just gathers virtual dust and all you’ve done is prove that you can do it…

So I’m wondering – what would make a mashup really useful for you?

So far I’ve come up with birdflu outbreaks, crime locations, running routes, great party locations, trusted cabs / minicabs, free/fast/paid wifi access…

Can you think of anything else that would be useful for you?

Update: A corollary to this is that at the moment, it’s pretty hard to get the coordinates that Google likes into your system – you’d have to instruct people how to find them on Google maps and then still get them to enter the coords on your site, which is not gonna make for quick adoption – so probably the hardest part so far is actually making it programmatic to retrieve map coordinates based on an address location or a postcode… There is a RubyOnRails implementation over at http://cartographer.rubyforge.org/, with blog posts specific to the UK at http://mongoo.se/articles/2005/12/09/using-google-maps-in-the-uk-with-rails and http://blog.mongoo.se/articles/2005/12/01/uk-post-code-to-latitude-longitude-snippet… anyone know anything that works in PHP?

3 comments

Gareth,

If I’m understanding your question correctly then you can easily get co-ordinates simply by using the GMap itself.

Have a click on the map at: http://www.webkitchen.co.uk/errata/gmap.htm

You’ll see that the co-ordinates of each click show up underneath the map. All you have to do to get the points is to capture a click event on the map. I’ve just used the boilerplate code that comes with the API key together with a couple of tweaks.

The GMaps documentation helps you capture a load more info too. Is this what you were after?

by Peter Nixey on March 2, 2006 at 1:12 pm. Reply #

Peter, you biscuit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-)

See, this is why you’re the js genius and I’m just a lowly past-my-prime hacker of other people’s code ;-)

Just sent you a mail…

by Gareth Knight on March 2, 2006 at 1:27 pm. Reply #

You know I’ve never been called a biscuit before but I’m taking it as a complement :)

See you at the party,
P

by Peter Nixey on March 4, 2006 at 12:43 pm. Reply #

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