More Neat Stuff: Google Maps API

by Michael Alderete on 4/9/2005 · 5 comments

A couple of days ago I saw an eloquent “4,000 word” essay (4 photos) about the impact of clear cutting, written with the new Google Maps feature, which shows satellite photos of the map area, and allows you to zoom in and out using the same controls as the street map version.

An interesting, creative, and very persuasive use of the tool that Google created, and an illustration of how ease-of-use can change the game. Looking at satellite imagery before was either hard, expensive, or both. No longer. Anyone can do it, easily and for free, entirely on a whim. I predict similar “essays” will have a significant impact on political conversations around the US in the next two years.

Today I found a tool by Paul Rademacher that takes it one better, and showed how data from craigslist.org could be combined with the Google Maps API to create a very useful, interactive tool for shopping for rental apartments and real estate.

This is quite a step beyond using now-easily-accessible map pictures to illustrate a point; it combines data from two unrelated sources, and uses the power of Google Maps APIs to build an entirely new tool, something that Google may not have envisioned when they created Google Maps. No deals, no cross-licensing, no bizdev guys schmoozing endlessly — just one guy with an idea quickly hacking out some clever code to create something genuinely useful. This is how Google is attacking Microsoft, and in the long run it will probably work.

Of course, the power of Google Maps can be taken too far. I’m a little concerned about abuses like this.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Avinash May 9, 2005 at 12:55 am

Can i use goolge maps, supoer impose my custom data and use it for commercial purpose?? I guess not but i wanted to know if google has something similar for commercial purpose. So i can buy it

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Jerrad May 21, 2005 at 6:54 am

You mean like housingmaps.com?

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Ryan September 18, 2005 at 4:31 pm

Sure you can, but the Maps must be accessible by the end user for free. Check out my implementation at http://www.gympost.com/gymsearch/map.php to see a high-quality Google Map that uses advance API features and was built for commercial purposes.

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Tony September 30, 2005 at 1:51 pm

Is there an implementation of the google maps API where you can type several addressess in the same city and have them all be marked so you can see their location with respect to each other? Say I’m not a taxi cab driver, so I don’t know where most addresses are except for mine, and I’m interested in seeing where various interesting houses for sale are once I find them in the MLS. Thanks

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