Google delivers maps mashup tool for non-techies

Google has created a tool to let non-techie users create Google Maps mashups, extending this capability beyond the realm of geeks.

Google has created a tool to let non-technical users create Google Maps mashups, extending this capability beyond the realm of software developers.

The feature, called My Maps, is designed to let users who don't have formal programming knowledge to create, annotate and publish online maps on the Google Maps platform.

My Maps aims to provide to non-technical users some of the mashup capabilities that have been available for several years to developers via application programming interfaces (APIs), which require programming knowledge to use.

Developers have created over 35,000 Google Maps mashups, marrying the Google mapping platform with external data sources to create all sorts of interactive maps where users can find information on apartments for rent, bike routes, hotels, gas station fuel prices, parking garage fares, and so on.

My Maps has a graphical, drag-and-drop interface that lets users create a map, add placemarks to it, as well as draw lines and shapes. Users can also add notes, photos, audio clips and videos to placemarks.

If people label "public" the maps they create, Google will crawl and index them, and return them as results for Google Maps queries to which they are contextually relevant, said Jessica Lee, a Google Maps product manager. People can also keep maps private by tagging them "unlisted" so they are only available for viewing by people they choose to share them with.

By extending the ability to create Google Maps mashups to regular users, Google wants to significantly increase the amount of data created for its mapping service, Lee said. The more user-generated content that exists for Google Maps, the more useful this mapping search engine will be, she said.

Strengthening Google Maps also gives a boost to the company's local search service, since both are integrated in order to deliver search results that include maps along with business directory listing information, driving directions and other relevant information.

Kelsey Group expects advertisers to spend US$11.1 billion in 2011 to market their goods and services in local search engines, compared with US$4.1 billion last year, an average annual growth of 22.3 percent. Responding to user and advertising interest, Google and competitors like Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com have made their local search engines and accompanying mapping sites a high priority.

At launch tonight, Google will provide some maps done by its employees, like one detailing two people's journey on legendary Route 66.

Maps created by users will be saved on Google servers. Each map will have a unique Web address on the Maps.Google.com domain, Lee said.

In addition to My Maps, Google is also adding millions of KML files to its Maps search engine, another move to increase the volume of third-party data available for the mapping and local search service.

KML stands for Keyhole Markup Language and it's the language used to create data files for both Google Maps and its sister desktop application Google Earth. In February, Google made available these KML files via Earth's search engine and it's now including them in Google Maps as well.

KML overlays have been created by casual users as well as by large organizations like Discovery Networks, the U.S. National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic.

My Maps will be available in the Google Maps home page. as of midnight (U.S. Eastern Time.)

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?