Band of Bridges: Celebrating the Golden Gate Anniversary

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest author is Greg Moore, President of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Google is excited to help support this celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge.

On May 27th, the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 75th anniversary. Our organization, the non-profit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, is working with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District; the National Park Service; the Presidio Trust; and the City of San Francisco to help commemorate this landmark event.

As president of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, I have the privilege of enjoying the majestic architecture of the bridge and its landscape on a regular basis. This iconic Bridge stands at the center of the Golden Gate National Parks.

However, we’re pleased to announce that now the American spirit and beauty of the bridge will be available to everyone. Our new interactive website, Band of Bridges, brings the celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary into everyone’s homes.

The website enables visitors to virtually connect bridges from around the world to the Golden Gate, making what we hope will be the longest bridge in history. Using the Google Maps API, users can navigate every corner of the Earth and search for bridges or enter a specific bridge they are already familiar with—maybe even one from their hometown. Each new bridge added will connect to preceding bridges, resulting in spans that stretch hundreds (or thousands) of digital miles.

With the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics approximating 600,000 bridges in the United States alone, we hope to connect thousands of bridges and people from across the globe.

Just as the Golden Gate blends together its surrounding nature, culture and people, Band of Bridges, conceived by San Francisco advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners and brought to life by the Google Maps team in Mountain View, is a culmination of the amazing creative and technological talent of the Bay Area in California.

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy would like to thank Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Google for bringing such vision, beauty and authenticity to our efforts.

Please join us in celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary and be part of our Band of Bridges.

Google Map Maker & Chicago

(Cross-posted from the Student Blog)

The Google Map Maker campus tour recently visited the Windy City to talk to students about how they can use Map Maker to map their campuses and make updates to places they care about on Google Maps. While in town, we also hosted a Map Maker event at the Google Chicago office to share the tool with folks working in the public sector. We had a great time meeting so many enthusiastic mappers from the area, and look forward to seeing how they put Chicago on the map.

Our first stop was the University of Chicago campus, a beautifully historic area with architectural gems galore. Students who attended this event were excited to map not only their campus, but neighborhoods near the university, showing the diversity and development of the population and culture.

Our second stop was Northwestern University, where a packed room of students learned about mapping while sampling some traditional Chicago style deep dish pizza. Delicious! Students were particularly interested in adding details to their campus, naming the buildings, adding locations of the sororities and fraternities, and marking the building outlines or footprints of their favorite restaurants and stores nearby.


Our Google Map Maker team loved partnering with Google Student Ambassadors from these campuses, who creatively and passionately helped plan these events. You guys did an amazing job! The Google Student Ambassadors from Northwestern University had this to say about the Map Maker visit:

“Our event brought together over 120 Northwestern students who were eager and excited to learn about how they could make an impact by adding to Google Maps using Map Maker … Map Maker was a welcome product that put the power to shape the map in our hands. All in all, it was an incredibly fun and engaging experience!”

-Sourya and Minjae, Google Student Ambassadors at Northwestern University

The last event—a meeting with public sector officials at the Google office in Chicago—gave us some great insights about how Map Maker can be used for large metropolitan areas. University educators, Department of Transportation employees, Census Bureau representatives, Chicago Health Department folks, and many more shared how they would like to see Map Maker applied to what they do. We really appreciate all their feedback and suggestions, as well as their enthusiasm for how this tool can help them share their work with each other and the public.

Chicago and the surrounding areas were such enjoyable places to visit, full of vibrant and passionate people. We look forward to visiting other campuses in the fall, but don’t wait until then to leave your mark on your campus!

Improvement for your vehicle, win a 3D printed prize

Speaking of Personal Manufacturing, our fast-moving friends over at i.materialise have devised a new 3D printing competition for SketchUp modelers everywhere. The Google SketchUp and i.materialise Pimp Your Vehicle Challenge invites you to design an add-on, attachment or other accoutrement that would improve the transportation mechanism of your choice. Cars, bikes, motorcycles, pogo sticks—designs that would upgrade any mode of transit are all fair game. As an example of one such real-world object, consider the doohickey pictured below: It lets you attach a GPS device to the handlebars of your bicycle.

Judges from i.materialise and the SketchUp team will pick first, second and third-place winners. First prize gets his or her design 3D printed on a Zcorp multicolor printer and a SketchUp Pro 8 license. Perhaps even more interestingly, the engineers and product development people at i.materialise will work with the first-place winner to try to make the winning design a commercial reality.