Google Maps Mashups 16

They Draw & Travel – World Map

They Draw & Travel is a collection of wonderful user submitted hand drawn maps.

The World Map lets you browse the maps submitted to They Draw & Travel on Google Maps. You can click on any of the map markers and view the hand drawn map submitted for that location.

One Day on Earth

On 10.10.10 One Day on Earth asked people around the world to create a video of their world. The goal of the project was to “create an open shareable archive and documentary film of the world on 10/10/10.”

You can browse and watch the thousands of videos that were contributed around the world on this Google Map.


I only found this map yesterday and it has already become a firm favourite.

#rorschmap uses the Google Maps API to create a kaleidoscope for any location on the Earth. Essentially the application displays the Google Maps satellite view of a location and, using the same principle of multiple reflection that you find in kaleidoscopes, creates an animated Rorschach test effect.

Great British Picnics

The Guardian newspaper is increasingly working with partners to produce useful Google Map based guides. The newspaper are collaborating with to create their City Guides. They have also worked with Enjoy England to create a Google Map based guide to great destinations in the UK.

The Guardian has now partnered with Country Life Butter to create a Google Maps guide to great picnic spots in the UK.

The map helps you search for a picnic spot by activity, for example spots that are good for hikers, photographers or wildlife fans. You can also search by environment, such as by beach, riverside or country park.

If you have a favourite picnic spot of your own you can add it to the map.

Maersk Fleet – Live Map

This Google Map allows you to track in real-time the the huge shipping containers of Maersk as they travel around the world.

The position of the ships are displayed live on this Google Map. You can click on any of the ship map markers to view a photograph of the ship and read further details, such as the ship’s destination and current speed.

This map presumably uses the Automatic Identification System (AIS), an automated tracking system used on ships to plot real-time positions.

Integrate Google Maps and Flickr into a Real-Time App

.net magazine has published a great tutorial on how to create a real-time animated Flickr map. The tutorial was written by James Christian and Ben Gannaway the creators of the excellent Net-a-Porter Live Google Map.

The tutorial explains how to create a Google Map that animates in near real-time through images posted on Flickr. The tutorial includes how to work with the Flickr API and how to customise the look of your map.

Alongside the tutorial is a demo map and a link to download the full source code.


Yellow Pages in Canada has released a useful application to help two or more people find the best place to meet.

To find a place to meet you need to enter your address and the address of the person you plan to meet. You can then select the type of venue where you wish to meet, for example a restaurant, a bar or a cafe.

Rendezview will then create a Google Map showing you the most convenient venues that you could meet (based on your selected preferences), roughly half-way between the two locations.

Japanese Castle Explorer

Daniel O’Grady’s excellent Japanese Castle Explorer has been updated to take advantage of all the new wonderful Street View imagery available for Japan.

This year the Street View trike has been very busy in Japan capturing a lot of beautiful new off-road imagery, particular in the grounds of some of Japan’s castles.

The Japanese Castle Explorer is a great map that shows the locations of Japan’s most famous (and plenty of lesser known) castles. The map allows you to view Japan’s castles in Google Maps satellite view. Now it is also possible, where available, to view the castles in Street View.

The map is available in English and Japanese versions. You can view an example of the Street View at Himeji Castle (use the link to ‘Other Castle Panoramas’ in the sidebar to navigate to view other castles in Street View).

The Bath Schools Map

The Bath Schools Map is designed to help parents choosing schools in Bath, in the UK, by displaying local schools and admissions and performance data on Google Maps.

In Bath parents are only allowed to indicate 3 schools as a preference for their children. Using the map it is possible to find the nearest ten schools and compare their academic mini-league tables on a range of metrics with a sidebar. This helps parents make school choices from a broad base of information rather than gearing towards a single metric.

Geobus is a nice little app that can find the nearest bus-stops for any location in the UK. Just enter a postcode or use the ‘locate me’ button and the nearest bus-stops to your current location will be displayed on a Google Map.

The application was developed as part of the recent Young Rewired State initiative.

England’s Health Data Map

The Guardian has used Fusion Tables to map the latest Health Profiles data from the Department of Health and the Public Health Observatories.

Using the Google Map it is possible to compare a number of health indicators for regions in the UK. For example, it is possible to view child obesity throughout the UK or view where the most people die from smoking.

There are still quite a lot of gaps in Street View’s coverage around the world. Luckily a number of other providers have created their own Google Maps based Street View applications to try and plug these gaps.

China – with City8

In China City8 have created extensive interactive 360 degree panoramas in 45 of the country’s biggest cities.


As well as providing Street View type imagery in the USA, Canada, Singapore and Sweden Mapjack has also ventured where Google Street View has so far feared to tread. MapJack has great coverage in Malaysia, Thailand and Puerto Rico.


Norc has great coverage in central and eastern Europe, including in Poland and Austria, where Google’s Street View cars have yet to drive.


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. 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 Distance Matrix

I often found myself on long car journeys with nothing to occupy me but a dog-eared UK road atlas. On the back page, there was a chart that showed the driving distance and journey time between pairs of major cities, and I would amuse myself figuring out which pair was furthest apart, and how long it takes to drive the length and breadth of the country.Thanks to the new Distance Matrix service, which we are launching today, I can now relive these moments from my youth. The Distance Matrix service is a simple and efficient way to obtain the travel distance and time between many locations when you do not need the full route details for any individual pair. The below applications generates a distance matrix for walking from major London railway stations to several London landmarks. Roll your mouse over the matrix cells, or tap a cell, to see the relevant route.

The Distance Matrix service is also useful for sorting or filtering search results. For example, let’s say your Maps API application enables users  to find nearby grocery stores and you want to present the results sorted by drive time. The locations are stored in a spatial database such as Google Fusion Tables, which can return all stores within a given straight line distance. Using the Distance Matrix service you only need one more query to obtain the drive time from the user’s location to each of those stores in order to sort them accordingly.

The Distance Matrix service is available for use directly in the JavaScript Maps API as well as a web service returning JSON or XML. To get started, take a look at the Maps API services documentation, and the Distance Matrix API web service documentation.