Two months ago I wrote about Google Places versus Facebook Places. Facebook Places has been gradually activated around the world and today the beast came to Sweden. So say goodbye to your dear Gowalla and Foursquare apps, because this will be one of the most used applications of 2011, whether you like it or not.
Entries in category Digital maps
Google are certainly not resting on their laurels. A few days ago they announced a preview of Google Places API, about the same time that Facebook released write access to Facebook Places. I can smell a hairy fight coming up between the giants, but hopefully the winner will be the best one for users and developers.
Over a decade ago I was making my thesis project about dynamic modeling of 3D buildings in urban environments. Me and a friend were taking photographs of buildings in central Gothenburg to use them as textures in a custom engine written in C++. The available data consisted only of ground-level coordinates, not heights or textures.
Three years ago I wrote about how some guys with lots of time drove around in San Francisco, shooting millions of street-level photos. With a bit of Ajax you could explore the city and maybe even do some window-browsing.
It’s been about a year since my latest post concerning Google Maps, but now it’s time again. Google has recently updated Google Maps with a street view mode. Just drag a little yellow man along the streets and there will be street-level photographs for that spot. I just checked a few of my favorite diners in San Francisco, and they’re still there!
The world of mashups didn’t stop at the infamous Chicago crime map. It goes on and on with stuff such as Weatherbonk (collects weather and live traffic feeds on the map) and the “Where to go” travel map.
The web site Placeopedia is a mashup using Google Maps, connecting cities with their Wikipedia entries. In other words, it’s sort of a geographical version of Wikipedia for the planet Earth. It’s still in a very early phase and there are lot of contenders, but it could be interesting to watch it grow. If you prefer to tag areas instead of points, WikiMapia is an alternative. It allows users to tag map areas and write their own comments.
In addition to previous maps, there is now satellite coverage of several major European cities. Have a look at Mont St Michel, Münsterplatz in Freiburg, San Marcus Square in Venice, Castelgandolfo, the alcazar of Segovia…
The map war between Google and Microsoft has recently gone full throttle. In response to Google Maps, today Microsoft launched Virtual Earth. In standard software tradition they “happened” to delete the Apple headquarter from the map. Oops, we did it again. But here is the Google building, have a look while it’s still there.
My favorite creative minds are back! Yesterday Google, also known as “Microsoft done right”, improved their already fantastic web application Google Maps, now including satellite photos from DigitalGlobe and Earthsat, covering United States and Canada. And it’s fast! Try it at once.