A New Way to Follow the Google Maps API Google+ page

To the Google Maps Developer Relations team, the most exciting feature of Google+ is the opportunities it gives us to connect with Google Maps API developers from around the world. That’s why today we’re very excited to announce the launch of the Google Maps API Google+ page.

The Google Maps API Page will be used to give helpful tips about using our APIs, announce our office-hours hangouts, and point you to new cool maps that we find. We’ll also use the page to tell you about upcoming events, highlight announcements, link to helpful articles, and a lot more. It’ll also give us a stronger means to connect with our valued developer community. For instance, today we announced the next Google Maps API Office Hours, in which you can connect to the Maps Developer Relations team through Google Plus Hangouts.

Over the past couple of months, the Maps DevRel team has been connecting with Google Maps API developers through our personal accounts. We’ve now created a new circle that you can follow that has all of us in it.

For years, this blog has been the primary way for developers to keep up to date about the goings-on in the Google Maps API world and that isn’t going to change. We see the new Google+ page as adding a new way for you to connect with the Google Maps API team.

Google maps: Travelers Great Maps

If you’re looking for some help to plan your next vacation, luckily there are some new sites to help you decide where to go, how to get there, and what to do once you’re there. Gone are the days of tedious library research, transportation schedule matching, and needlessly getting lost. These applications can do it all for you.

Rome 2 Rio

Rome 2 Rio is one of the most exciting new Google Maps API applications. Start by entering any two end points in the search fields and Rome 2 Rio will give you a list route options that include flights, trains, ferry, and driving directions. When you select a given route, the site allows you to view the details of each leg plotted out on the map and also gives you pricing options for flights. To learn more watch this video from Rome 2 Rio.

The Guardian – FCO Travel Advice Map

The U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office regularly issues travel advice for British citizens on the safest places to travel. Before you plan your next vacation, it might be worthwhile checking this map published by the Guardian that uses Google Fusion Tables to map out advice from the FCO. This map provides a fascinating snapshot of world travel.


Plnnr is a one stop shop for travel planning advice. You start Plnnr by selecting a destination and length of stay. Then you select a theme (with kids, outdoors, popular, or culture experience), your level of intensity (more leisurely travel or ‘see everything’ travel), and your desired level of luxury. Based on these values, Plnnr builds a top to bottom trip itinerary complete with route maps, hotels, and attractions. You can print these plans out or share them with friends online. It’s a great tool to help you get a lay of the land before you even visit a new city.


Pitchup.com is a new project to help U.K. campers find campsites or attractions and share reviews. The site has a wide range of tools to help your zero in on what you’re looking for. There are search tools for camping options (lodges, tents, trailers, etc.), layers of nearby photos and videos from Panoramio and YouTube, detailed information about each campsite, and much much more.

Sit or Squat

Ask anyone who’s spent significant time traveling and they’ll tell you one of the biggest difficulties on the road is finding a good public restroom. While you’re out and about, Sit or Squat makes this task easier by providing a list of over 105,000 open toilets from around the world. There are even pictures, descriptions, and ratings to help your decide where’s the best place to go!

The RHoK community

Two years ago representatives from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Hewlett-Packard, NASA and the World Bank came together to form the Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) program. The idea was simple: technology can and should be used for good. RHoK brings together subject matter experts, volunteer software developers and designers to create open source and technology agnostic software solutions that address challenges facing humanity. On June 4-5, 2011 we’ll hold the third Random Hacks of Kindness global event at five U.S. locations and 13 international sites, giving local developer communities the opportunity to collaborate on problems in person.

The RHoK community has already developed some applications focused on crisis response such as I’mOK, a mobile messaging application for disaster response that was used on the ground in Haiti and Chile; and CHASM, a visual tool to map landslide risk currently being piloted by the World Bank in landslide affected areas in the Caribbean. Person Finder, a tool created by Google’s crisis response team to help people find friends and loved ones after a natural disaster, was also refined at RHoK events and effectively deployed in Haiti, Chile and Japan.

We’re inviting all developers, designers and anyone else who wants to help “hack for humanity,” to attend one of the local events on June 4-5. There, you’ll meet other open source developers, work with experts in disaster and climate issues and contribute code to exciting projects that make a difference. If you’re in Northern California, come join us at the Silicon Valley RHoK event at Google headquarters.

And if you’re part of an organization that works in the fields of crisis response or climate change, you can submit a problem definition online, so that developers and volunteers can work on developing technology to address the challenge.

Visit http://www.rhok.org/ for more information and to sign up for your local event, and get set to put your hacking skills to good use.