Google Maps Mashups 23

The Red Sox vs Yankees Radio Rivalry Map

Tim Wallace used to face a huge problem every summer. When he was driving through Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont in the summer he knew a Red Sox game must be on a radio station nearby. His problem was trying to find which station was commentating on the game.

Thanks to the Google Maps API Tim has now solved this problem. His Google Map shows in red the areas where Red Sox games are available on the radio. What’s more you can click on any of the shaded areas and find out the name of the radio station and what frequency it broadcasts on.

Acutely aware of the endless suffering of less fortunate Yankees fans Tim has kindly added their radio coverage to the map as well.

Via: @geoparadigm

Griffith’s Valuation

If you have Irish ancestors then Griffith’s Valuation might be able to help you search for an address or a particular person. This site from Ask About Ireland plots the Griffith’s Valuation on Google Maps.

Griffith’s Valuation was the first full-scale valuation of property in Ireland. It was published between 1847 and 1864 and is one of the most important genealogy sources surviving from 19th century Ireland.

To search the Griffith’s Valuation you can enter an ancestor’s name or a place. The results of your search are then displayed on a Google Map and in list form.

World Family Names

If you have nothing to go on but your surname, when searching your family tree, then you should start with Public Profiler’s World Family Names.

If you enter a surname into World Family Names you are presented with a heat map of the world showing where there are high concentrations of people with that name.

Beneath the map the top countries, regions and cities where your name occur are displayed in list form.

England Jurisdictions 1851

Genealogy website Family Search has created a nice Google Map that lets you search for places by county, parish, hundred and province in England, as they were constituted in 1851. The map should prove to be of great help for anyone who wants to search the geographical origins of ancestors from England in the 19th Century.

You can select to view the different administrative boundaries via a drop-down menu. You can also select an old Ordnance Survey map as the base layer instead of the Google Map. You can search for towns by name and it is also possible to click on the different administrative boundaries on the map to view further details about a location.

Plants at Risk

Did you know that with one in five plant species in the world are threatened with extinction?

Kew Royal Britannic Gardens together with the Natural History Museum, London and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has completed a global analysis of the risk of extinction for the world’s plants. The results of this research are presented on four Google Maps.

The first map shows the average threat level of plant life in different countries around the world. The second map shows the percentage of plant species under threat in different countries around the world. A third map shows the proportion of plant species unique to each country.

A fourth map has also been created to give an indication of the level of confidence that the researchers have in the data for each country.

Syria Monday 15/08/2011

The Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Center has created a Google Map of videos shot by activists during Monday’s protests.

To view a video you need to click on a map marker and click through to watch the video on YouTube. The map markers themselves are colour-coded to show towns with reported protests, towns on strike and towns under attack or besieged.

The Iraq Museum on Street View

Iraq’s National Museum in Baghdad is now on Street View.

As well as collecting Street Views of the interior of the museum Google also managed to capture close-up 360-degree views of individual artifacts, a selection of which can be seen on the Antiquities page of the Iraq Museum website.

A neat addition to the Street View controls on Google Maps allows allows the user to navigate between the 1st and 2nd floor of the museum. So Street View now goes upstairs as well as to Iraq!

In the UK I think it is now illegal to try and connect the recent rioting with social deprivation or economic inequality. The government and the mainstream media has decided that unless you blame bad parenting, social networking sites or a breakdown of moral order for the riots then you should be publicly castigated as a supporter and excuser of wanton criminality.

The Centre of Full Employment and Equity seem to be ignoring this new political orthodoxy by creating a Google Map overlaying the location of riot incidents on top of unemployment data.

The British Local Unemployment and the August 2011 Riots Map includes two layers: the local area unemployment rate range and riot incident data from the UK Guardian Open Data Blog.

The dark blue areas on the map show areas with high employment rates. At the risk of encouraging a visit from the UK thought police I have to say that the areas with high employment rates seem to have been largely unaffected by the recent rioting.

The Guardian themselves have used the riot incident data to create a Riots & Poverty Data Map.

The Guardian says that “The darker reds represent poorer places, the blues are the richer areas. What do you think? Is there a correlation between the two?” I’m going to say it – ‘Yes, there is’.

Someone has also taken a KML from the London Riots – Verified Areas map and displayed it on MapTube Map with the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). The IMD is a method of identifying deprived areas across the UK.

Overlaying the locations of the riots and looting on top of the IMD layer reveals that most of the trouble is occurring more in areas with high deprivation than in more affluent locations.

Whilst we are on the subject of the UK riots Directions Magazine has a good podcast discussion looking at the challenge of using social media as geodata and what journalists, geospatial professionals and the public can learn from these efforts.

The Guardian – Berlin City Guide

The Guardian’s Google Maps based city guides now includes Berlin.

The Berlin City Guide maps the best places to stay, eat and shop in the German capital and also maps great bars, clubs, museums and galleries to visit. You can select a category to view on the map from the menu above the map. When you select a category as well as dropping the appropriate markers on the map a list of the venues is displayed beneath the map.

If you select an individual venue, by clicking a marker or from the list beneath the map, The Guardian’s review of the location will then be displayed.

NYT Travel Guide to Paris Map

If you want an alternative to The Guardian’s Google Maps city guides then you need look no further than the New York Times. The NYT’s Travel section provides Google Maps based guides for many of the most popular tourist destinations around the world.

Each of the city guide maps allow you to select different categories of markers to view on the map. The categories are hotels, restaurants, attractions, shopping and nightlife.

As well as using the map as a guide to the city you can use the links in the map sidebar to click through to the New York Times’ recommendations in each category.

Brazil’s Cachaças on Google Maps

Brazil’s most popular alcoholic drink is cachaça. In fact it is so popular that there are over 4000 cachaça distilleries in Brazil.

Guia Mapa da Cachaça is a crowd-sourced map plotting the location, photos and histories of Brazil’s cachaças and cachaças distilleries. The Google Map of the distilleries allows you to find where each cachaças is made and can help you find your nearest, locally distilled cachaças.

In other news, Google LatLong revealed today that Street View of the Amazon rainforest is currently being captured. So very soon, you’ll be able to float down the Amazon and Rio Negro Rivers of northwest Brazil and experience some of the most remote and biodiverse areas in the world with Google Maps Street View.

Country Explorer

Country Explorer uses Google Maps Styles to create a very simple but effective game with Google Maps. Using the game you can test your knowledge of the countries of the world by guessing the name of a country and clicking on the map to see if your guess is correct.

Using Map Styles a Google Map has been created without country or other administrative labels. When the map user clicks on the map the Google Maps API geocoder is used to determine which country the user clicks on. The map then loads the name of the country and the country’s flag.

The game could be developed a little more by prompting the user to find a particular country and keeping a score of correct guesses. A timer could also be added for each guess to rack up the tension a little.

Samsung Galaxy Vibrant

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Pseudolocalization to Catch i18n Errors Early

Pseudolocalization is the automated generation of fake translations of a program’s localizable messages. Using the program in a pseudolocale generated in this manner facilitates finding bugs and weaknesses in the program’s internationalization. Google has been using this technique internally for some time, and has now released an open-source Java library to provide this functionality at

Take a look at the following screenshot and see if you can spot the internationalization problems:

Some common problems in localizing applications are:

  • Non-localizable text A program may have hard-coded text in the program source itself, or parts of messages may come from other non-localized sources (such as from a database), or there could be bugs in finding and using localized messages. The accents pseudolocalization method helps identify these problems by replacing US-ASCII characters with accented or otherwise modified versions, while still remaining readable. That way, if you see unaccented text, you know that text will not be localized for real locales either.
  • Combining separately translated sentences or paragraphs A program may “piece together” complete sentences/paragraphs from smaller translated strings. This is a problem since some locales may require that parts of the sentence/paragraph be reordered, or the translation may depend on the context of what else appears in the sentence. The brackets pseudolocalization method adds [ and ] around each translated string to clearly show translation boundaries. If you see a sentence/paragraph broken up into multiple bracketed pieces, you know it is likely to be impossible to translate well for some locales.
  • User interface elements don’t give sufficient space for translated text Some languages, such as German, frequently have translations that are much longer than the original message. If the user interface does not allow sufficient room for such languages, parts of it may appear wrapped, truncated, or have unsightly scrollbars in such locales. If the developer only tests with the original language, the developer may not discover these problems until late in the development cycle. The expander pseudolocalization method addresses this by making all the strings longer. Looking at the resulting pseudolocale will allow the developer to find such problems long before real translations are available and without requiring knowledge of other languages.
  • Improperly “mirrored” user interfaces in right-to-left locales Some languages like Arabic and Hebrew are written right-to-left. A user interface in a right-to-left (RTL) language needs to be laid out in a mirror image of a left-to-right layout. The only way to tell if this has been done properly is to try the user interface in an RTL locale. However, using a real RTL language is problematic both because translations are unlikely to be available until late in the development cycle and because few developers might be able to read any RTL languages.
Using untranslated LTR messages in an RTL user interface is problematic because it masks real problems and creates apparent problems where none actually exist. Just setting dir=”rtl” on the HTML element of an otherwise-English UI produces something like this:

Note how some of the punctuation is misplaced and not mirrored, the radio buttons are a mess, and the order of the menu items isn’t mirrored. None of these happen to be real problems — they will disappear when the English strings are replaced with real translations.

The solution is the fakebidi pseudolocalization method, which takes the original source text and adds Unicode characters to it to make it behave just like real RTL text while remaining readable (though backwards).

We find the most useful combinations of pseudolocalization methods to be accents/expander/brackets for finding general internationalization problems, and fakebidi for finding RTL-related problems. We use BCP47 variant subtags to identify locale names that get pseudolocalized translations: psaccent (as in en-psaccent) gets the accents/expander/brackets pseudolocalization, and psbidi (as in ar-psbidi) gets fakebidi. Note that for psbidi, using a real RTL language subtag is recommended since that will trigger RTL handling in most libraries/frameworks without any modifications. We hope to get these variant tags accepted as standard.

We have taken the sample application from above and run its translatable text through psaccent and psbidi pseudolocalization. Now take a look and see how much more easily internationalization problems can be identified:

Note that three problems have been revealed by the use of psaccent:

  • the space provided is insufficient for longer translations
  • “Add Contact” is split across two messages making it difficult to translate correctly
  • the button text has not been translated

We can fix those problems, then check for Bidi problems by using psbidi:
Notice this doesn’t introduce problems that aren’t there like the earlier example, but it does show that the Help menu item does not float to the left side of the window as it should.

Initially, this is just a library for use with other tools. We plan to write a command-line tool for taking message sources and producing fake translations of them. In addition, we are in the process of integrating this library with GWT, so GWT users can take advantage of it just by inheriting one module.

In summary, pseudolocalization is useful for finding internationalization problems early in the development process and enabling the developer to fix them before wasting money on translations that may have to be changed to fix the problems anyway. We hope you will use this library to help make your application usable by more people, and we welcome contributions and discussions at!forum/pseudolocalization-tool.