Google Earth: Baseline to baseline, we’ve got the basketball games covered

Do you hear the dribble on the court and the chanting of the fans? Following an action-packed week of buzzer beaters, the 2011 NCAA® Championship here in the U.S. promises to be as exciting as ever.

As a college hoops fan, I often wish I could experience the games sitting in the arenas—and I’m sure I’m not alone. This year, our college basketball tournament map lets you get as close as you can to the games without leaving your desk thanks to 3D models of the tournament’s 14 arenas. Take a virtual tour of the venues by watching the video below, or download this tour and open it in Google Earth.

Plus, we’ve created a special page for you to keep track of all the excitement during the next few weeks. You can see an up-to-date tournament schedule, explore the college campuses in Street View and click through to watch the actual games on NCAA® March Madness on Demand®. You can also create a bracket using Google Docs, read Google News articles on the games and download basketball apps from the Chrome Web Store. It’s all here (along with a fun surprise) at

And since there’s been a long-running debate over whether teams playing closer to their home court have an advantage, we added a “Distance Tool” on the map to make it easier to measure how far schools have to travel from game to game. We’ll see how things play out, but the defending champion Duke Blue Devils may have to travel more than 2,000 miles to Anaheim if they win their first two games.

As my friends always say when we can’t wait for the tournament to begin, “Send it in, Jerome!” May your favorite school reach the finals and we hope you enjoy all the basketball fun at

Posted by Aaron Weissman, Google Maps Marketing (San Francisco King of the Rock winner)

MapQuest Finally Goes OSM in USA

So apparently our work is done in the USA with the OpenStreetMap data because MapQuest opened up their USA version of their open initiative. provides the same features as our 10 sites in Europe and Asia, and also debuts a new error-reporting tool (which has been added to all of MapQuest’s open sites).  For many, this tool may be their first step in becoming OSM contributors.  Now, on any open MapQuest site, errors can be reported directly and are displayed in near real-time.  These errors can range from an incorrect speed limit or directional changes on a street to a missing parking lot or a new cultural institution.

Bing Boom goes the dynamite!  I guess now we can’t complain about the quality of the map anymore because it is my own fault it sucks in Arizona.  This is a very gutsy move on MapQuest’s part as I’m not sure the map is really good enough to use in the United States, but we need something like this out there to get it moving forward.  Rather than fix errors in the Google Map, now we can fix errors in the MapQuest Map and send them on to the root OSM map.  Good work MapQuest!

As an Arizona State alumni, I’m planning a trip to see the NCAA this weekend to correct a horrible wrong done to our fair university.  Looks like I’ll be making that trip with MapQuest and OSM.

Google Developers Day US – Maps API Introduction

“Google Maps API Introduction Brandon Badger The Google Maps API is a powerful way to put a custom map on your website. In this session, you’ll learn just how easy it is to create your own maps mashup. We’ll start with the basics and progress through the tools that the API provides.