One of Google’s most promising features is its brand new global mapping software, dubbed Google Maps. New API access is taking it to the next level.
The web-based interface to Google Maps allows users to perform powerful mapping functions – locating points, creating driving directions, viewing aerial photographs, and even combining aerial photographs with streets in a hybrid view.
But it isn’t these functions that truly show off the power of Google’s technology.
In June 2005, Google made available a developer toolkit, allowing 3rd party users the ability to directly interact with the powerful mapping engine.
Developers have already begun harnessing the power of Google’s gift. On such example, Whereis, allows users to “geolocate web servers, and plot them on a map.
Demonstrating the scalability of the maps, one developer has created a chart powered by Google Maps to display the positioning of boats taking place in the 2005 Transpac boat race.
Meteorologists are also in on the action. A map hosted on Compooter.org uses hurricane data to plot hurricane activity dating back to 1851 on a map of the mid-Atlantic.
Google Labs has introduced its own promising concoction – Ride Finder. Based on the same mapping technology, it tracks the exact positioning of fleets of taxis and limousines in 13 US cities.
The ride finder service was released in late March 2005, and marked one of the first additions to the mapping software.
In celebration of the anniversary of the first manned moon landing, Google Moon was released, plotting the landing location of six Apollo space missions to the Moon.
NASA aerial imagery of the moon surface is used in the map, but the resolution is very limited. What happens if users try and zoom past the limitations of the imagery?
“Well, you'll have to go and find out, won't you, says Google.
Much of the recent additions to Google Maps are believed to be from the acquisition of Keyhole Incorporated, a digital mapping company that the company made in October 2004.
Google initially cut the Keyhole subscription price in half, and in late June 2005, released Google Earth, a derivative of the keyhole client software.
Users can access aerial imagery from all around the world – complete with overlaid points of interest, 3d buildings, 3d geographic features, and even driving directions.