Clever Google Maps Manipulations by Christoph Niemann

The Path to Rebates

Anyone who spends more than an hour around me knows I like clever word manipulations. Yep, I find them punny. Christoph Niemann has just taken this to a whole new level with Clever Google Maps Manipulations. Some of them are funny (like My Way or the Highway) and some of them are pretty nifty visual illusions. I personally like the one above best as I’ve gotten HORRIBLY lost on Mail-In Rebate Way on more than one occasion. Either way, they’re a good reminder that maps can be as much art as information.

The Modern Yard Sale

Yard sale, garage sale, boot sale, trunk sale.. no matter what it is called, the idea of selling stuff someone doesn’t want out of their house isn’t something that is normally thought of as being geospatial. Yet, most yard sale pro’s think geospatially in terms of neighborhoods in order to get to the most yard sales in the short space of time they are open, usually from 8:00 a.m. – noon. It’s common to be asked at one yard sale, if anyone knows of any other yard sales on the same road. Jokingly, First for Women Magazine says that one of the “7 Signs that You’re Queen of the Yard Sale” is that ” 3. You’ve programmed the addresses of all the best houses into your GPS – and grouped them by neighborhood.”  This isn’t your grandma’s yard sale planner using the often vague directions from the newspaper classifieds.

The Yard Sale Treasure Map is a free online geospatial tool created in 2009 that combines Google Maps and Craigslist to identify yard sales within a certain area. There are several Smart phone garage sale apps including gsalr.com which combines a garage sale locator with turn by turn directions. Garage Sale Finder is another app that  makes it possible to download garage sale locations to your GPS. Some local community websites and newspapers, such as the Fredericksburg.com, Orlando Sentinel  and the Town of Falmouth are providing online yard sale maps along with their classifieds listings. There is obviously a big market for geospatial tools that make getting to yard sales easier. If only there was some participatory GIS going on that would tell you the status of a yard sale. One of the big banes of yard sailing for everyone is when it closes early and there is no way to know not to stop by.

Lego, Australia, and Build with Chrome

There’s a good 124 (ish) reasons I love this site – Building with Chrome and Lego. The most important are because it’s Lego and a Map. The basic premise is you can grab a plot of land and ‘build’ your lego construct virtually on that plot of land. It can be a house or an abstract sculpture or pretty much anything you can envision in Lego (except those weird Lego Bonicle things my nephew lovs so much). It is also great to see Google really pushing the envelope of what’s possible with Chrome and HTML 5. More ‘food for thought’ is a great thing for near future HTML 5 work that anyone involved in web stuff is going to have to embrace. My only real problem with the site is that even though it is tied to space, it is a space most people won’t know. The constructs are unlikely to represent Australian in any meaningful way. But hey, you can’t have everything!

Now if Lego would just move the experiment a tad South East and render all their Lord of The Rings Lego, we could recreate the movies in Lego on the map. Maybe that’s just too much awesome for one app 🙂

Google Maps press event video

I am just beginning to watch the video from today’s press event at Mountain View, and while it apparently ends with a few announcements it begins with a great history of Google Earth/Maps going all the way back to SGI and Keyhole to the process of building (and filling) Google Maps. Take a look to see the history, uses, and future of Googles approach to geo.

Zombie Survival Map

Zombies are cool. Period. That’s a non-debatable, empirical fact of current pop culture. Like any good citizen, it helps to know what to do in the case of a zombie outbreak. Lucky for us all, one of the more geographic minded of us has released the Zombie Survival Map. The map shows location where zombies are likely to exist in red (in other words, population centers) and places that are likely to be zombie free in black/grey. On top of that, the map overlays locations for supplies such as food, shelter, hospitals, and oddly liquor stores. Although the map is obviously kinda silly (never mind the Zombie Outbreak Response Vehicle I have on my truck), it does highly some important base information for any sort of widespread emergency response issues. Similar things are being done by state and local governments to help detail routes for evacuation and emergency response. The map hopes to incorporate user generated data and some point, which will make it even more useful in the case of a natural or man made emergency…. or if the zombies ever do rise up and attack…. whichever 🙂

Via Wired

Panoramic View of Angel Falls, Venezuela

We’ve featured AirPano before on the site, but a set they’ve put up just took my breath away.  They have a wonderful 360 degree air panoramic of Angel Falls in Venezuela.  You can see these falls from the base on up to the top of the waterfall.  The waterfall drops water nearly a half a mile to the ground.  It’s just amazing.  I really liked being able to start at the bast of the fall and virtually travel up via helicopter to the top.  If you’re really interested in some of the details of the shoot, the link also has a bit of a pholoblog of the shoot and the area.

Unfortunately most of us won’t have the opportunity to see majestic sites like this in person, so effort
s like the AirPano project can really help us see our amazing world in ways never before possible.  Not everything on the site is geographic (the ‘being a sandwich‘ one is kinda quirky), but the vast majority cover sites around the globe.  Take some time to explore what they have – I think you’ll be blown away by the sites.

A Truly Mobile App Market

Web Map Solutions, a mobile application development company, recently posted their “Hot Topics in Mobile GIS” in which they reflect on the development trends they see in the applications they have developed or are developing for clients. Their list includes applications such as cultural resource management, genealogy, political campaigning, and mining. This list would be an accurate reflection of overall trends in mobile web applications. One of the hottest is related to true mobile applications – one’s developed for the automobile industry.

The Wall Street Journal has a recent article on the mobile app market, “Mobile Hot Spots: Web Radio, Apps Move to the Dashboard“. They say that mobile apps such a huge growth market that car manufacturers are setting up mobile and spatial app shops in Silicon Valley to be more integrated into the development process.

According to ReadWriteMobile, a web channel devoted to the mobile application industry, the projected growth of the mobile web app market is over $100 Billion by 2015. Of course, they have an interest in seeing that market increase but the spatial application market seems to be growing as more and more people expect it as a matter of course during their every day routines.

 

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Conserving the Night Sky

Is your portion of the night sky polluted by artificial light?  Check out this really slick Google Map interface I found on the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) web site .  For over 22 years, the IDA has been advocating to keep our night sky clean of light pollution.  Their reasons go beyond astronomy purposes and have provided resources for legislation that would both reduce night sky lighting and provide very large amounts of energy savings to the global economy.

Find A Dark Spot Tonight
Click on the image to go directly to map viewer

Data for the map comes from the NGDC, where you can find some links to more interactive maps and other imagery services.

 

Flash Player Dead for Mobile

Adobe announced today they are killing development of a mobile flash player. Is this the death call for flash? Maybe not, but it certainly is a serious blow. We all know the mobile platform is growing at a phenomenal rate and it’s hard for IT departments to contemplate new development that doesn’t include mobile platforms. However, for now at least, flash on the desktop is secure. Adobe has re-affirmed commitment to HTML 5 development and tools. It may take over the Flash platform even on the desktop in the not too distant future. I rather curious to see if API developers are looking to expand into the HTML 5 market anytime soon.