LBS and Fusion Tables and Vector Tiling

Another week has passed and we are all still alive and kicking. Humanity never fails to surprise me. Anyway, Geo

continues to roll on and keep us excited.

Read Matt’s blog and get cracking.  Bonus points for rolling TileMill and TileStache together!

LiDAR views of the Carolina Bays

We’ve talked about the Carolina Bays before, but today we’ve got a great new way to view them. Michael at Cintos Research sent over some information about their new use of LiDAR DEM hsv-shaded imagery to expose as many of the Bays as they could — over 22,000 so far!



If you want to just see one quickly, here’s a KMZ file to download. To see the rest of them, you can pull individual KMZ files from this Google Fusion Table that they’ve put together.

To take it even further, their data includes placemarks for each of the 22,000 bays, with transparent png overlays to show the exact location of each Bay. Turning the overlays on and off help to reveal the bay in the standard Google Earth imagery.



For more about this project, check out the entry at

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.