I've never seen one of photo vans they use to make the images in Google Maps' Street View feature, but a few days ago I did see a close relative. While walking through San Francisco, I saw one of the Tele Atlas vans parked for a rest. If the bright orange color (and the large Tele Atlas lettering) didn't give it away, surely the six cameras perched on the roof did. The crew wasn't around so I couldn't get a peek inside, nor could I ask just how the GPS/mapping company was using the van. … Read more
Where are you right now? It's a simple question for humans to ask and answer, but for Web services, location is a complex and sometimes fuzzy concept. Right now, I'm in San Francisco, and I don't care who knows it. Where in San Francisco? That's not so public. I started writing this at home, with a specific address that I don't want to print here but that I'm OK with my friends knowing. Where's my house? It's in the Noe Valley neighborhood. Although, a real estate agent might be able to get … Read more
As of today, Google Earth can finally tell you what the weather is like while you zoom around the 3D representation of our planet. The app has a new layer that lets you toggle cloud cover, Doppler radar, and conditions and forecasts, which will show you what's on tap in each region using information aggregated from Weather.com. There's also an "information" link that has more background about each of the services and links to download the 6- and 24-hour cloud animations, which can be controlled using playback buttons in the top right of your screen. It looks just like you've seen on any TV weather report, except you have complete control on the playback slider, and can drag is backward and forward ad nauseum to bend the clouds to your will (it's great fun).
I couldn't manage to get the "conditions and forecasts" sublayer to activate with the latest build for Windows, but maybe that's just me. Everything else works marvelously, including the Doppler radar that Google claims is "near real-time," which is a reasonable considering it's updated every 15 minutes--about what you'd find at most weather sites. The data for Doppler comes from Weather.com and is limited to the contiguous United States, with plans to roll it out to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Europe "shortly." All other regions of the globe are limited to cloud cover and forecasts, which Google pins at somewhere around 50,000 cities worldwide.… Read more
Cars and maps are kind of a match made in heaven. People get lost, and roads are confusing. Luckily, pumping gas is not, and despite some states like Oregon requiring people to pump your gas for you, most other places are a self-serve affair. The Associated Press is reporting that a new line of gas pumps from Gilbarco Veeder-Root, due to ship next month, will be equipped with a touch-screen panel that includes a slightly stripped-down version of Google Maps to let you browse local attractions like hotels, amusement parks, and restaurants that have been handpicked by the gas station'… Read more
Google Maps has worked hard to place just about every capability you'd want when you stare at a map into its Web app. That includes the ability for third-party developers to ornament Google's maps with their own KML, or keyhole markup language, mapplets.
AccuWeather.com announced today its Forecast Snapshot for Google Maps. The add-on slips into the MyMaps tab of a user account and offers multiple ways to fetch the weather forecast while fixating on a particular locale.
Click the map, or enter the ZIP code or city into the AccuWeather.com search bar to grab meteorological data in Celsius or Fahrenheit. AccuWeather.com displays a three-day forecast in the sidebar and on the map face, but the widgetlike qualities stop there. Clicking for compressed or extended forecasts, animated radar, or anything else opens new tabs on AccuWeather.com.… Read more
If there was ever a comic book hero named Mapman, this would be his ride. Tele Atlas, a map content company out of Netherlands, is the owner of this orange van and the attached equipment. It creates maps of the roads it plies using a potpourri of location capture devices.
Mounted on top are four cameras, each capturing three images per second. The van can be configured with up to eight cameras depending on the landscape it is mapping, making it possible to capture 24 images per second when needed. Those are accompanied by laser scanners that help to determine … Read more
The online mapping stuff just keeps getting better.
A company called EveryScape is launching on Monday a three-dimensional local search site that lets people "drive" down streets and even "walk" into buildings.
If you thought Google's Street View was cool, wait until you see how you can ski down the slopes in Aspen, Colorado, or whiz over taxicabs and pedestrians through the streets of New York, Boston, and Miami. The inside views of buildings are only available in Miami and Aspen right now.
The visuals are stunning as you fly through the front doors of … Read more
Tomorrow may be the day OS X Leopard makes its way out to the unwashed masses, but we were lucky enough to get our hands on a (legal) copy of the operating system earlier this morning directly from the mother ship in Cupertino. Besides the snazzy new look and feel, the big things we wanted to get our hands on were all the Web features we've been drooling over. We picked four that we think people are actually going to use, including Web Clips, RSS feed reading in the new Mail app, Web search history in Spotlight, and Wikipedia … Read more
The initial broad adoption of the Internet was, in major respects, about breaking down the boundaries of place and space. Important aspects of Web 2.0 concern themselves with reintroducing the local into the global. When I attended Mashup Camp at MIT earlier this year, I was struck by how much of the interest was around merging data with maps.
Thus, it's not particularly surprising that geotagging, associating photos with a map location, is a current hot topic. At the recent Web 2.0 Summit, Flickr debuted an upcoming revamp of its map page and a new "… Read more
You're a dedicated digital professional of some kind, shackled to your desk all week. But you're a fearless explorer of the natural world on your days off. When you get ready for your next overland adventure, you can plan your route down the Shenandoah River or up Mount Everest with pens, highlighters and a large collection of topographical maps unfolded over every available surface--or you can use one little CD-ROM from National Geographic. No, you cannot plan it all out on a GPS. You need some old-fashioned know-how to go with your newfangled technology.
Assuming you have a … Read more