Friday, June 29, 2007

ebook on the Google Maps API

This comes from our friend Eric at Geospatial Training... The fourth edition of our ebook on the Google Maps API covers everything you need to know about programming Google Maps to create dynamic web mapping applications with today's hottest mapping technology. You will learn how to create maps, add map controls for user interactions (zooming, and panning),
programmatically alter the map extent, add points of interest to the map, add custom icons, geocode addresses on the fly, read addresses from a database or XML file, display aerial photography, AJAX fundamentals, and event programming. New material in the fourth edition includes instructions on adding driving directions and traffic overlays in Google Maps, integration of Google Earth KML files, efficient management of large number of markers, and
much more.

To download a free copy of "Mashup Mania with Google Maps", please visit our
website at

Plazes + Google Earth

Now you can have loads of fun using the cool social networking app from inside Google Earth. Grab the Plazes KML file here and enjoy - - inspired by the Plazes blog. Speaking of Plaes... how about this Plazes / Yahoo! Pipes integration... nice!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

GeoImmersive video from IMC - the technology behind Google Street View imagery

Spotlight on GeoImmersive video from IMC - Terrestrial Views From Every Angle - Since 2005, IMC has been capturing 360 degree georeferenced spherical video of North America's major cities enabling everyone to experience terrestrial views from every angle. The company, currently getting loads of exposure for providing Google with their cool and sometimes controversial Street View data has been driving the country in VW Bugs housing the IMC Dodeca camera which capture the 360 degree imagery. According to the company, they are expanding their coverage of North American cities and expanding to Europe. Initially developed for the energy and utilities sector, GeoImmersive video from Immersive Media Company (IMC) is being adopted by many users for many interesting uses. This brief spotlight looks at the company, the device, the uses of the device, and the benefits to users


Slashdot It!

Three new Global Awareness layers for Google Earth

Google has announced three new Global Awareness layers for Google Earth - these are part of the new Google Earth Outreach offering...
Global Heritage Fund (GHF) - The GHF Global Awareness layer explores cultural heritage sites around the world that GHF is working to preserve for future generations. From ancient Mayan Mirador pyramids buried in Guatemalan forests threatened by clear cutting to the crumbling Lijiang Ancient Town in China, GHF takes users to these endangered archaeological treasures of human civilization and details the efforts to save them in partnership with local governments and resources.
Earthwatch Expeditions – The Earthwatch Global Awareness layer enables users to virtually visit more than 100 volunteer Earthwatch expeditions in Google Earth— from recording the activities of lemurs in Madagascar to determining the impact of climate change on grey whale populations in Mexico and Canada. Enthusiasts and would-be volunteers can explore scientific field research projects in progress around the world and learn how they can help collect field data in the areas of rainforest ecology, wildlife conservation, marine science, archaeology, and more.
Fair Trade Certified - The TransFair USA layer introduces users to the over 70 Fair Trade Co-ops located throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa. Fair trade is an innovative market-based approach to sustainable development that helps family farmers in developing countries gain direct access to markets and develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
More details about Google Earth Outreach are available at

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Google Earth Outreach brings Environmental awareness to Google Earth users

A great new initiative from Google -- Google Outreach. Use this service to explore, share and create KML data to share with the world about your environmental awareness programs. From Google... As a non-profit or public benefit group, you can use Google Earth to capture the work you're doing, the people you're helping, the challenges you face and the change you're helping to enable - all in the visual context of the environment in which these stories take place. By downloading your KML files, anyone, anywhere can fly in Google Earth from where they live to where you do your work. This virtual visit to the projects and people you support gets users engaged and passionate about what you're doing and builds support for your cause. See

Monday, June 25, 2007

Google maps + Digg = diggmap

An interesting new real-time information provider is up and running with this mashup .Get the latest DIGGs displayed on a Google Map - think twittervision for DIGG - see

Friday, June 15, 2007

An Ajax-Mashup Sample Application on Sun Java

Here's an interesting read on the Sun DevNet - The sample displays the latest news, weather, stock-quote, traffic, and map information; also the results of user-initiated searches for videos, blogs, and photos. Besides Ajax and a mashup, key to the development of the sample are Really Simple Syndication (RSS) software and public Web-service APIs from Google, Yahoo!, Flickr, YouTube, and Includes an 8-minute Flash demo.

Local Search Control for Google Maps

This API is quite cool as it enables mashup developers to integrate a local search control into their map.. slick! From the post... The Local Search control for Google Maps is an implementation of GControl that performs AJAX Search API style Local Search on an existing map. See Herel

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Mashup Advertising Engine to help monetize map mashups - monetize your map and maximize the use of screen real estate

Google has laid the foundation for map mashup development -- more tools, more exposure... etc... Now there's a solution (Beta) to help put more cash in the pockets of developers and map publishers. Those looking to advertise on mashups will find a really cool service that will get their ads served in a user-friendly, based on the geographic location being viewed by the map user.

Recall A Couple of Weeks Back

At Where2.0 and the recent Google Developer Conference Google announced a number of enhancements to their mapping solutions and APIs. Of particular interest was a focus on bringing more attention to mashups and making mashups more widely available to the Google search user base. Case in point... the google mashup editor, mapplets and google gadgets. Google VP Engineering, Jeff Huber noted at Developer Day that Developers are now creating apps in a 10th of the time that was required back in the day! Developers have access to more APIs, simple to use developer tools and web publishing environments. Of interest... the new model of application development includes open source, standards, mashups, and advertising.

Bringing more traffic to your mashup

Mashup Editor -- with this tool creating mashups with Google couldn't be easier. In a few lines of code and one click of a button you can publish your mashups for the world to see. Simply put, more mashups, simple publishing and sharing. Think of it as an online editor for creating your mashup with just a few lines of XML code. Test, deploy, and launch is what people want to do (experimental at this time).

Gadgets -- Recall commscore ranks google’s network as the largest on the web – half a billion users each month! So now we have the google gadgets API… popular, an open model, more than 100k gadgets created to date. Using the gadget page creator users can now put gadgets within their blogger weblog - take a gadget and embed it into your website you see where this is coming from now? Developers who create and author gadgets are inviting more traffic to their mashups. The formula: mashups + gadgets = $. With Gadgets your mashup is now widely available to more users

Mapplets - perhaps most significant to map-mashup developers is the launch of Google Mapplets... think mashups of mashups. Combining the gadgets API with the maps API Google is now enabling exploration and discovery of your content. Imagine combining your mapplets.. like hotel and weather data then toss in a crime data mashup. Enabling mashups of mashups. Once again, this is a great solution designed to bring more traffic and users to your mashup.

But where's the money?

A common question people ask is where is the money in mashups? Well, no doubt many developers are now farming out their services and earning a good living doing so... kudos! Some are also making money by authoring weblogs and writing books. But what about the revenues generated from all those people using your clever mashup map? Obviously many are embedding Google adsense ads within their web pages, however, this currently falls short of maximizing revenues based on traffic and usage. If you've ever panned and zoomed around a mashup map you've likely noticed those familiar google ads being served up on the page. One big problem though... as users zoom and move around the map advertisements don't update. Also, the ads are very often not relevant to the geographic area on the map or the topic of the web page.

A Solution... $$
Now that Google is offering a number of clever ways to increase the number of users of your mashup how to increase revenues for publishers? Lat49 is coming out with a very cool solution for mashup developers and those looking to earn some revenues from their websites and mashups. The Lat49 advertising engine will enable users to easily incorporate the engine's functionality into a mashup (regardless of which API being used - Google maps, Microsoft Live Search, Yahoo! maps, etc...) Developers will have the flexibility of embedding either text or graphic version of ads (or both) and have a little creative licensing over where and how the ads appear... the map author will be able to serve standard IAB ad formats and positioned in a user-friendly location on the map. Advertisers purchase their ads by geography (more on that later) with ads being served at either local, neighborhood, urban, or a branded level. The ad displayed to a user will depend on the map zoom-level and map center. As a user pans around or zooms in and out the ad(s) will update automatically... kaching $$$! Publishers need only embed a couple of lines of javascript in their app then customize the code accordingly. Revenues will be shared and get this... will be based on the number of ads being served (not simply on click-throughs). Additional revenues will be possible based on ad performance but is apparently not necessary to rake in some green. Obviously with ads updating regularly and changing with the user's map position performance will no doubt be very good compared to the current ad solutions available.

Typical banner ads that you currently would see on a website using a mashup - banner ads don't update or change when the position on the AJAX map changes. Another common practice would be to position Google adwords to surround the map. Map see is from

Using the Lat49 solution an ad (text or graphic) can be positioned on the map so it doesn't use up any valuable real estate. Various sizes can be displayed and the ad will change as the map center moves - notice the Lat49 graphic positioned where an ad would be seen.

Lat49 is currently in Beta and developers are encouraged to contact the company to help with the initial testing. More on this can be found at

Thanks to Tiffany and Chloe for giving me a first look at this very cool solution. I'll be really curious to see which mashups take the initiative to jump on this one first!

Google Maps Image Cutter - another cool tool

The Google Map Image Cutter is an application designed to take any image or digital photo and cut it into tiles which are displayed on a Google Map. Using this tool, large images can be published on the web in a format that allows the user to pan and zoom using the standard Google Maps interface. Although publishing large digital photos is the most obvious application, this technique can also be used for annotated maps of an area that are not to scale - how it works -- The Google Maps Image Cutter takes a large image and cuts it into lots of 256x256 pixel images. At the top level there is only one 256 pixel square which is a smaller copy of the original image. At the next level, there are four 256 pixel squares, then sixteen, sixty four and two hundred and fifty six. This corresponds to 256, 512, 1024, 2048 and 4096 pixel square images spread over the map tiles. The application automatically chooses the depth of the maximum zoom level to correspond to the original size of the image, so zooming in any further would make the image bigger and cause it to pixelate. Details at CASA

Google Map Creator - create google maps from your SHP files

This comes from CASA...The Google Map Creator is a freeware application designed to make thematic mapping using Google Maps simpler. The application takes a shapefile containing geographic areas linked with attributes and automatically generates a working Google Maps website from the data. It does this by pre-creating all the necessary files and saving them into a directory. Publishing the map on the web is then just a matter of copying files onto a web server, allowing Google Maps to be used with the majority of ISPs. Details instructions on how to get up and running are found at

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

55 Ways to Have Fun With Google

You probably use Google everyday, but do you know... the Google Snake Game? Googledromes? Memecodes? Googlesport? The Google Calculator? Googlepark and Google Weddings? Google hacking, fighting and rhyming? In this book, you’ll find Google-related games, cartoons, oddities, tips, stories and everything else that’s fun. Reading it, you won’t be the same searcher as before! (From the author of Google Blogoscoped.) See

Tip: Photoshop CS3 Extended Plug-In for Google 3D Warehouse

Photoshop® CS3 Extended Plug-in for Google 3D Warehouse is a free plug-in that enables you to search and download 3D models from Google 3D Warehouse™ directly from Adobe® Photoshop CS3 Extended. Once you have downloaded the plug-in, you can search Google 3D Warehouse from Photoshop CS3 Extended by going to File>Automate>Search Google for 3D Model.

Note: The Plug-In for Google 3D Warehouse is pre-release software. It has only been tested using an English operating system with an English version of Photoshop CS3 Extended. There may be bugs or other unknown issues. There is no installer for this plug-in —you must manually place the plug-in into the Photoshop plug-ins folder

Download from Adobe Labs Google Maps Real Estate Mashup is a service of Intero Real Estate Services and it focuses on the Silicon Valley market. The site provides instant access to multi-million dollar homes and condos for sale in Santa Clara county (California). Users can easily navigate, preview thumbnails and prices on the map and see full property details of the luxury homes on Intero's website thanks to a cool mapping UI powered by Google maps. Mouse-over the little house icons and get additional information on teh listings

Google Earth releases Large imagery/terrain update

News of this latest update comes from the BBS system...
New high resolution:
Canada: Whistler, BC; Waterloo & Toronto, Ontario; Nanaimo, BC; and
Fort Saskatchewan, AB
England: Base 50cm coverage of nearly entire country,
Germany: Cities/Regions of Greifswald, Trier, Köln, Stuttgart, Bonn,
Oldenburg, Rostock, Saarbrücken, Hamburg, Hannover, and Ritterhude
Austria: Villach region
France: Cities of Caen, Dijon, Metz, St Etienne, Toulouse and Rouen
Spain: Catalonia and Valencia
US: Imperial County (CA); Yellowstone National Park (WY);
Galveston/Houston (TX); Peterborough (NH); Cheyenne (WY); Burke, Wake,
and Cabarrus Counties (NC); Racine and Kenosha Counties (WI);
Washington, DC; St Paul (MN); and the State of Alabama
Japan: City/Regions of Kochi, Asahikawa, Koriyama, Miyazaki, Nagano,
Utsunomiya, Akita, and Toyama

Large Digital Globe (60cm) update includes areas in Sudan, expanded
Africa, Australia, Mexico coverage and smaller areas of coverage in
Asia, Polynesia, South America, Canada, Europe, Middle East plus some
interesting islands in Antarctica and Greenland.

Updated Imagery:
Americas: Bogotá, Columbia; Mission Viejo (CA, US); Hillsborough County (FL, US)
EU: Dublin, Ireland
Middle East/Africa: Beirut, Lebanon and Tripoli, Libya
Asia: Hong Kong and Manila, Philippines

Updated Terrain:
Western US 10m, Canary Islands 10m

Listening to your KML in Google earth - Wild Sanctuary

No doubt one of the coolest things I saw (and heard) at last week's where2.0 was listening to KMLs in Google earth - actually you can also listen using Google maps too. Bernie Krause of the Wild Sanctuary announced that he's sharing his vast collection of soundscapes with the World. So what you might think... well, think about this... this is likely one of the largest private collections of digital sounds of wildlife and various ecosystems that you'll ever find. Even better, the soundscapes are being shared via KML so now users of Google earth can enjoy listening to their 3D mapping experience while being immersed in the sounds of nature. The soundscapes are also available via Google Maps. See more on this at or grab the KML at - Here's a sample video clip I captured at Where2.0

Michael Jones, Google CTO at Where2.0- sports triquarter and Apple iPhone

Michael Jones, Google CTO took to the stage of Where2.0 carrying of all things… a triquarter. Why? Well, if you thought it would be impossible to be in possession of such a device Michael would like you to know that it is indeed possible... as is much more – like perhaps the 3D web! We all know by now that Google’s mission is organizing all of the World’s information. The Challenge though… there’s a second web, a geospatial web and Jones notes that it’s underserved… perhaps it’s a little less underserved after the Where 2.0 event! We were reminded about spatial modality and that what makes it great is the connectedness - think “The 3D spatial web”… Google is indeed working hard at not only organizing the World’s information but is also aggressively building out the 3D web. This week we’ve heard about Google’s high-res street-side imagery, the addition of mapplets, and recall SketchUp coming into the fold and being given away to the user community… today Jones confirmed that the company has indeed acquired Panoramio… all pieces of the puzzle in developing the 3D Web. I’m sure we’ll hear more about all of this tomorrow at the Google Developer day. Finally, in addition to the triquarter, Jones also brought with him an Apple iPhone (which also was sporting what else... maps!) - see video below from my youtube:

PLSS data - download, connect, or stream into Google Earth

Looking for PLS data for your GIS? Here's a couple of very useful resources you should consider. These include the Land Survey Information System (BLM) - available via download (SHP) or connection to a web service - and a cool utility from Earth Point enabling users to specify a location and map the data using Google Earth. Requested data are extracted and provided as a KMZ.Jump to the following section on the Earthpoint webpage - Users can elect to view data from the BLM or National Atlas. Then, enter some values like State, Meridian, Township, Range. The you simply fly to "Google Earth" - the data you selected will appear on a map within Google Earth. If you'd rather see coverage for the entire country then you can view either BLM Township, Range, and Section or National Atlas Township and Range.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Notes from Google VP Jeff Huber from Google Developer Day

A few notes I grabbed while attending Google's Developer Day a couple of weeks ago... VP Engineering, Jeff Huber kicked things off to more than 1,500 attendees/developers of Google Developer Day in San Jose, CA. Those electing not to make the trek to the “Valley” were also treated to a live broadcast which was estimated to have been viewed by more than 5,000 online attendees – note: the event is archived online and available via YouTube. We were reminded by Huber that in typical Google fashion the event was totally free and included free food as well (clap). This, as many of you know, was the first google Developer Day, although last year Google did host an event billed as Geo-Developer Day (I was fortunate enough to have been there also).

Remembering one year ago - Recall it was way back in 2005 when the Google maps API really kicked things off. It brought to the end user a new way of interacting with the web. The Google maps developer crew reverse engineered the API and created what was known as mashups. Remember the housingmaps mashup which enabled visualizing the location of available properties for rent? This first mashup is what really sent the developer team thinking and eventually coming up with the idea of throwing out an API for the developer world to take advantage of. Fast-forward to 2006 when we saw the AJAX search API and the emergence of the gdata API - exposing APIs as web services. 2007 will see several new products.

Some highlights from Huber’s introduction:

- Now after one year there are 10x more APIs to discuss

- there are 25 times the number of developers to reach via the developer event (hence the need to scramble with a larger venue at the last minute)

- The new model of application development includes open source, standards, mashups, and advertising

- Developers are now creating apps in a 10th of the time that was required back in the day!

Photos from Google Developer Day

The Google Earth iGoogle Gadget

No doubt you have your iGoogle page defined.. if not you better get to it! Something cool to add is the Google Earth Gadget... this gagdet offers up a cool new KML to fly over every day.. sweet! Grab the gadget here

updated and posted from Google - KML 2.2 Reference

Not sure if you noticed or not but yesterday Google posted an update to the KML reference. Some new features include a camera reference - a virtual camera that views the scene; additional support for attribution, and much more. See the KML 2.2 Reference (beta) at

Google map Mashups and show me the money

I noticed in some of the blogging going on this week that there was some questions regarding where the business (aka. revenues) lies in many of the new location-enabled applications and services that are coming online every day... a great question. Indeed at Where 2.0 a common topic of discussion was indeed just that - "the app looks really cool but where's the business model?" This is an even more important question when you look at companies like Fatdoor who launched a social networking service at Where - these guys had a big presence with loads of staff and all the free t-shirts you can handle! So where's the money? Well, much of that is still a mystery.. perhaps drumming up VC. Most of it I suspect will come from the obvious... advertising revenues - think Google! Yesterday at Google's developer day there was much discussion about the direction of the APIs. Something we were told we'll be seeing much more of is advertising... particularly in maps. Not just textual ads surrounding maps like we see everywhere but also, ads embedded within maps. Imagine as you look through your favorite mashup you will be presented with cool little graphic icons from Burger King or McDonalds etc... we were told that developers will have some control and be able to decide if they wish to serve these ads or not. More relevant ads are in the future as well and a move towards improvements like forcing new ads as you pan around the map or ads that change based on zoom level etc... the end result is more options for developers, more cash in their pockets, oh, and loads of advertising cash for Google as well. Enhancements to the Google Ajax Search API enabling users to display search results within their website, the Ajax feed API enabling users to easily load RSS and atom feeds into their websites will enable publishers to easily add compelling content to their sites... think more traffic. Also, on the flip side of ads.. those serving ads will be able to use Google Checkout and integrate the service into their ads.. think "buy now". With the new mashup editor, google gears and in particular, Mapplets, the number of people using google maps mashups is going to increase at an exponential rate for sure. Mapplets will enable people to mashup their mashups (eg. add a crimemapping mashup to your real estate mashup) so developers should be drooling over this as I suspect those that create mapplets will be rewarded with substantially larger adwords revenue checks than what they are used to. See

Google VP People Operations testifies regarding immigration , the H1B visa situation and Google

Google has recently commented on the current immigration issue and in particular touches on issues regarding the H1B visa. I myself follow this as I was once an H1B visa holder. Google VP, Laszlo Bock  commented "We would encourage Congress to significantly increase the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas, to a figure more reflective of the growth rate of our technology-driven economy." He also urged Congress to address the backlog of employment-based green cards for highly skilled workers. The entire text of the communication has been posted at 

Google maps and anti spam filtering

Recently I've noticed a new way for web masters to implement a nifty anti-spam solution into their contact forms. Recall "back in the day" when you typically would have to enter a string of letters/numbers that were displayed in a separate box - you know, those often non-legible scribbles that you had to retype in order to prove it was a real human posting through the form. Now google maps developers are integrating a map-based anti-spam solution when you need to look at a map, locate a place name that appears near the center of the map, then pick that name from a list. A clever way to avoid those pesky spammers who we all love to hate! I found this example over at locr - see - note: sometimes I find that the place name that I feel is near the center isn't in the list so its nbot perfect, but it is cool!

The Google maps anti-spam email solution - are you a human?

visited states google mashup

Thanks to Peter for a tip on this cool app that shows loads of potential... visited states let you create a map that shows what elese??? States I've visited.. cool! Below is my visited states map (red shows states where I've been). Be sure to check out the developer's website for pointers to tons of cool mashup projects - see

Manchester Cathedral 3D imagery - impressive and now used on new Sony game

Interesting news on CNN today as Sony seems to be in trouble with a church in the UK. Apparently the company has released a game that has players shooting up aliens inside a Cathedral. The church is upset for obvious reasons but what's interesting is that the photo-realistic 3D renderings of the Cathedral may become part of a huge legal matter. CNN seemed to indicate that the church wasn't sure how the 3D renderings were obtained but that the 3D imagery was very similar to what is available on the Cathedral's website. Perhaps the company that developed the imagery was contacted by Sony or ?? It should be noted that indeed an impressive 3D tour is provided when you access the following website - the 3D virtual tour can be seen at This technology comes from Mindwave ( Of interest, as I write this message Google Earth is making CNN headlines once again as there are now more calls for obscuring sensitive information from Google earth imagery. At the heart of the matter is the recently foiled terrorist attack on JFK airport. Google is boasting that much of the imagery is available via public sources.. so who's task is it to blurr out sensitive areas. Perhaps an even better question is what constitutes a sensitive area? Couldn't this include shopping malls, theatres, schools, public buildings, airports, ports, bus stations

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ecosystem Sounds + KML = Wild Sanctuary Soundscapes

Now users of Google Earth and Google maps can listen to their data... At the recent Where2.0 event Bernie Krause of the Wild Sanctuary announced that he's sharing his vast collection of soundscapes with the World. So what you might think... well, think about this... this is likely one of the largest private collections of digital sounds of wildlife and various ecosystems that you'll ever find. Even better, the soundscapes are being shared via KML so now users of Google earth can enjoy listening to their 3D mapping experience while being immersed in the sounds of nature. The soundscapes are also available via Google Maps. See or - KML Application development was accomplished by 30Proof -

Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Live Search Maps at your fingertips

Been to the Idelix Labs lately? This is the developer resource where beta apps and other cool things the Vancouver-based company is working on are hosted. One such application launched last year is LookLocal... think of it as the ultimate map mashup where users can flip-flop their mapping between all the big boys in the mashup world - Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, and Live Search Maps. Oh... and perhaps coolest of all, integrate Idelix PDT into your mapping experience for a close up look and friendly navigation. Recall, PDT that nifty little "lens" for "magnifying" what appears on your computer display screen. See Idelix Labs - or
LookLocal -

tutorial - Converting a Maps API Mashup into a Mapplet

Here's a very handy document for mashup developers. The doc from Pamela Fox of Geo API Team describes in details exactly how to create a mapplet. From the tutorial... Google Mapplets allow developers to create Google Gadgets that can be loaded by Google Maps users onto the main "shared" map along with other Mapplets, enabling the Google Maps user to easily create "mashups of mashups". They're a great way to reach a large audience of users, so most maps developers should consider creating Mapplet versions of their Maps API mashups. With this conversion guide, you should be able to convert your Maps API site into a Mapplet (in 60 minutes or less!).  Grab the doc at

Google Earth Gallery

Have you seen the Google earth Gallery yet? It's not a gallery but it does provide a starting point for some cool things you can see and do in Google earth. See

Welcome to Any Google - Anything Google

This blog will initially serve to help me keep track of my placemarks and items of interest regarding Google's APIs including topics on Google maps, mapplets, and Google Earth.