Mine the Map

Yesterday I was watching Oprah, and they interrupted the show with the news about the Toronto plane crash. When they decided to display where the airport was, I was surprised to see them use Google Maps. It seems that the Map has finally hit its stride.

There have been a variety of user-created additions to Google's Map program, everything from games, to weather information, to online dating. One shows where free WiFi is, another displays cell phone towers. And there are more socially-minded modifications too. One displays crime incidents, another shows all of the Iraq casualties by hometown.

It seems Google has a winner. Though many have wondered if Google is over-extending itself and may be watering down their brand (see our homepage cover story), I think Google should start mining the map in extraordinary ways. Clearly, the public wants an interactive map with dozens of uses.

What are your favorite Google Maps mods? What would you like to see?

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  • Martin Tibbitts

    Maps is a great app, but it isn't a great leap over the competition.

    If they really wanted it to shine, I would add:

    1--Better routing. Currently the worst of the bunch.
    2--Construction and realtime traffic.
    3--Banding. I should be able to drag a waypoint from one intersection to another and have Maps auto-recalc the route. This would help you get around Maps routing you through 20 sidestreets to get to the highway....and better yet, it could learn.

    Martin Tibbitts

  • Sherri

    I love Google maps, I'm a sales person and I use it to map my directions to each of my appointments, it hasn't let me down and I've even taken to using it to compute my mileage when I do my expense reports. I think, for the tool it is, its prefect. Mapquest on the other hand doesn't seem to know any route in Toronto that doesn't take the 427, even if it means an extra 30 miles on a trip. Forgive me if this is ever so slightly off topic but is anyone else alarmed that the whereabouts of Toronto's airport was, it seems, a geographic unknown?

  • Jason Jones

    The use of Google maps by TV media illustrates an important point in how the Internet is changing our society. The average Netizen now has easy, on-demand access to many of the same tools and information that were once only available to the news room elite.

    My point: If you want to know where the Toronto airport is, how it looks from the air, what services are there, etc., you now have the same information power tools as the news media available at your fingertips.

  • JimLane

    Seems to me that Google is doing it right. You, yourself did notice where the map came from, then perhaps took time enough out to look at the map site, find the mods on their blog and have written about it further spreading the word.

    Working fine.

    If Google did not market their maps to TV stations as a tool, I would be surprised.