Google Maps – Wow (Window On our World)!

Friday, April 8th, 2005 9:56 pm by Neal

For the last month or so I’ve been playing with Google Maps , and Wow! Google has done it again. Being a cartographer by training and a computer programmer by trade I have a special appreciation for the blending of art and technology that this astouding website represents. Some of the things that blow me away are:

  • The maps are extraordinarily clean for computer-generated ones — notice how the road intersections make a continuous path and not just intersecting lines. Also, roads are cleanly labeled and the maps are not cluttered with too much detail.
  • The maps are extremely up-to-date. I checked out some areas under rapid change that were recently completed and found the coverage to be highly accurate.
  • Notice that you can drag the map around in your browser by holding down the left mouse button while you move the mouse! Even as you scroll the map off the edge of the screen, it is dynamically refreshed with more map data in a seamless fashion. A nice bit of JavaScript and remote requesting/fetching that is.
  • Click on Satellite on the right to see seemlessly integrated satellite imagery in the same boundary as your map! The imagery is available at multiple resolutions — just click on the zoom control that floats on the leftside of the map. Damn, that’s so cool!
  • Click on Directions and have Google maps draw a blue route from your source to your destination either atop the map or the satellite imagery with obligatory directions listed on the right.

I don’t know how well this works in Internet Explorer because I refuse to touch that pile of dog squeeze; however, it looks great in Mozilla Firefox. What will Google think of next?

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