Great User Created Maps Chronicling Egypt

During the crisis in Egypt, third-party Geo developers helped the international community understand the situation and keep persons affected by the crisis safe through the use of innovative new tools. These same tools can be replicated by anyone in any crisis situation. In the developer examples below, three things jump out as particularly striking: How quickly these maps were built and put into action, some within hours of the first protests; how developers (many contributing independently) from all over the world worked together to get these maps up and running; and how geo-context has become extremely important for the international community in understanding and responding to any crisis, be it natural or man-made.

NY Times – Mapping the Protest in Cairo Day by Day

In this map, the New York Times has plotted the locations of the protests and clashes with police. There are also pictures, videos and contextual information provided in the icon info bubbles.

Al Jazeera – Mapping the Day of Wrath

This website features a video illustrating the geographic spread of the protests using fly-over animations in Google Earth. The same webpage includes maps with information about protests in Cairo and throughout Egypt.

Hypercities Egypt

Twitter’s real-time updates have become an invaluable tool for the Egyptian protest organizers, observers and citizens looking to stay safe. Hypercities Egypt used Google Maps to display geolocated tweets as they came streaming in. Also, view another Egypt Twitter map created by MiBazaar.

GeoEye Tahrir Square Imagery

The imagery above is of Tahrir Square on January 29, 2011 at around 10:30am local time from more than 400 miles above. This imagery is exclusively viewable in Google Earth (and the Earth API) using the historical imagery tool. The imagery highlights GeoEye’s stunning ability to respond to world events and capture timely imagery.

Egypt Protests in Google My Maps by

During the crisis, many Geo developers and persons without a Geo developer background collaborated on Google My Maps to chronicle the events geographically as they unfolded, such as this one by Storyful. Using the My Maps tool, anyone with access to Google Maps could create a collaborative mash-up with custom icons, colored polygons, content rich info-bubbles and many other features. Once completed, the map can be shared globally through My Maps or embedded on a website. Access can also be restricted to a select group of people if need be. Learn more at


How you can help: During a crisis situation, up-to-date maps are often crucial for organizing humanitarian aid and effective response. In many regions, however, accurate and local map data is sparse, out of date, or not available at all. You can add your geographic knowledge to Google Maps by contributing map edits in Google Map Maker, which is currently available in select countries and territories.

Refining the Google Maps tiles for Japan

Today the Google Maps team is excited to announce that we are releasing a number of improvements to the look and feel of the map for Japan. This redesign is intended to provide our users with an easier to read and more beautiful map, and to help them find the geographic information they want more quickly.

We’ve given a lot of thought to the visuals used to present the multi-faceted information on the Japanese maps, and have arrived at a refined set of style updates for the typography, iconography, colors and line styles.

A picture speaks a thousand words, so here is an example to show you the new and improved style. Unlike western countries, most Japanese roads do not have names. Instead, the cities are organized with a hierarchical block system. In our new design, the more legible font treatment helps the user to distinguish localities, points of interest and transit stations:

As there are limited street names, landmarks are also an important element for street navigation. The traffic lights, points of interest and prominent local businesses can now be read and found more easily thanks to newly designed icons:

We hope you like the revamped look of Google Maps for Japan, and that it improves your ability to quickly and easily find your way!

Zhou Bailiang, User Experience Designer, Google Maps