Ever since Google released their Maps site, people have been creating “mashups,” overlaying all sorts of data on the U.S. map or parts of it. Last month CNN ran a story about these Google Maps tinkerers, and the weblog Google Maps Mania announces new mashups as they appear on the web. The best of the new sites tap into the flexibility and power of Google Maps to allow visitors to click and drag around an area and zoom in and out of any location. Here are a few of my favorites:
- gMaps Pedometer: Double-click points on the map to measure a route. This site is great for runners who want to measure their training distances. If you want to see what this looks like in use, take a look at the 3.2 mile bus route I take to work each morning.
- gCensus: Get U.S. census data—population, housing units, land area, and water area—for any slice of the map. Zoom in on your neighborhood to see how many people liver there.
- Google Maps Transparencies: Cool page that blends the street map view and satellite view into a combined view. “Click and drag anywhere, just like normal Google Maps, and see how the Map View matches the Satellite View (or vice-versa). Control the level of transparency with the slider control at bottom.”
- Housing Maps: View homes for sale or apartments for rent that have been listed on craigslist. Choose a city (from a limited list) and price range to see where your next home may be.
- Iraq War Casualties: “This page shows the progession of US military casualties from the Iraq war. Each click of the (+) displays 30 more casualties, starting from the beginning of the war.” Click an icon to see a soldier’s name, rank, home town, and date and place of death. The interface is a little frustrating because you have to start with zero casualties and work your way up in 30-soldier increments, instead of allowing you, for example, to instantly see the map with all casualties to date. Still, it’s an interesting and sobering site, well worth checking out.
- Chicago Crime Database: See where crimes have been committed in the Chicago area, and get fairly detailed information about them. You can filter the items that appear on the map by type of crime, date, street, police beat, type of location (e.g. ATM, gas station, bowling alley), and so on. They should have one of these for every city.