German hacking group No Name Crew earlier this month managed to hack the website of the far-right German political party the NPD. Someone has used the data to create a Google Map that lists the full names and addresses of 400 donors to the NPD.
The map contains a legend that says that it “might contain some errors..”, which obviously does raise concerns that someone completely unrelated to the NPD could end up being targeted by a user of the map. I’ve therefore decided to not link directly to the map itself.
In 1998 the BNP, a far right group in the UK, similarly had its members’ list hacked. A UK map developer also created a Google Map of the political party’s members.
The map developer quickly took the map down, after realising that innocent people might end up being attacked. Instead he created a heat map of the UK, that didn’t show individual addresses, but instead gave an overview of where in the country support for the BNP was stronger.
A similar approach from the German hackers or the creator of the NPD map would provide an interesting map of where support for the NPD is concentrated, without causing any risk to people’s safety.
During one of the Map Maker Community team’s recent college campus events in Chicago, we had the pleasure of meeting Phil Swanson, an international studies and business student, who travelled nearly 200 miles to join our mapping event at the University of Chicago.
As soon as we started talking with Phil, his passion for mapping and computers came shining through, so we were excited to learn more about what drives him to add to, edit, and create using Google Map Maker.
According to Phil, it all started with retrofitting an interactive campus map when he was a web developer at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. There was an existing version that utilized the Google Maps API, which he further developed, resulting in this useful campus map. Phil says about the project, “I love to make simple things for people to use, and I’ve always been interested in maps, so that project definitely created an interest in maps and mapping in general.”
Once Phil realized the positive impact his mapping could have on the university, he continued using Google Map Maker to ensure all of the campus details were correct. He began seeing his edits appear not only in Google Maps, but also on Google Maps for mobile on his phone when he searched maps near the university. “Seeing edits transition from Map Maker to Google Maps on mobile and filling in the details make maps that much more useful for me and the world,” Phil said about mapping his town and the campus.
What aspect of the maps does Phil enjoy most? “I love mapping buildings. Seeing the buildings from my University show up on my phone is the best.” Phil has developed a handy system of finding what needs to be fixed on the map, going out with his phone to take pictures, then adding those photos to a web album which he can then include with his edits in Map Maker. “This is especially useful for buildings . . . . It might sound obvious, but I find that my edits are much more likely to get approved if I describe what I’m doing and link to a photo for a more complex edit.” What a helpful technique to use during the review process!
We want to thank Phil for taking the time to hang out with us in Chicago, and also for sharing with us what excites him about mapping. We look forward to seeing more great mapping from Phil, and hope other students are inspired to make the maps of their own colleges and universities more comprehensive and detailed!
For more useful tips like Phil’s, visit the Map Your World Community forum to see what others are doing.
I think this is the first real-time wave height map that has been featured on Google Maps Mania. Meteo Mari e Venti is a Google Map that shows wave and wind height and direction predictions for the Mediterranean Sea.
There are four map views available on Meteo Mari e Venti, wave height and direction, period and wave direction, wind at 10m and wind gusts. Each of the maps show the current weather conditions. You can also view the forecasts for the next 120 hours using the buttons above the map.
Emerging as one of the worst flooding events along the U.S. waterway in the past century, the Mississippi River floods of April and May 2011 have caused widespread destruction along the 2,300 mile river system. Historically high water levels from heavy rains and springtime snowmelt have provided no shortage of dramatic scenes — levees breached, downtown areas completely submerged, spillways opened, and more.
The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a collection of flood data including satellite imagery for impacted cities along the river from GeoEye, flood extent and crest data forecasts from the US Army Corps of Engineers (kml) and NOAA’s National Weather Service (kml), and shelter locations from the American Red Cross (kml).
This collection of data is available on Google Maps by searching for “Mississippi flooding.” These data can also be accessed within Google Earth by turning on the ‘Places’ layer and flying to the Mississippi river south of Memphis, TN, or by downloading this kml to open in Google Earth.