Archive for the ‘Google Maps’ Category

Gmap Uploader now supports DeepZoom/Seadragon

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Now, all images that have and will be uploaded with Gmap Uploader will be available via the Deep Zoom URL format which means you will be able to view your images with Seadragon AJAX in your browser, and Seadragon Mobile on the iPhone.

So, either upload your image to Gmap Uploader, or go to the URL of a Gmap Uploader map you already have. After its done processing, at the bottom there will be a Deep Zoom URL. You can use this URL with either Seadragon AJAX, or Seadragon Mobile.

For Seadragon AJAX, I recommend putting this URL in the Embed The Viewer tool.

Once you’ve downloaded Seadragon Mobile to your iPhone, and opened it, follow these steps:

  1. Press the plus button in the bottom right of Seadragon Mobile.
  2. Select “Deep Zoom Content”.
  3. Pick a name, for example, “Awesomeness”.
  4. Enter the Deep Zoom URL from Gmap Uploader.
  5. Press the “Done” button.
  6. Be amazed.

Adding this feature probably means I need to change the name of Gmap Uploader. Any suggestions?

Announcing My Retirement (From Mapping Projects)

Monday, May 12th, 2008

I am officially announcing my retirement from mapping projects as of today. Today coincides with the start of Where 2.0 which I attended last year. Some may know that I decided not to go this year. Along with Where 2.0, there were also two related events, Google Developer Day and WhereCamp which I attended. Google Developer Day which was free at the time has turned into Google I/O which now charges the equivalent of about 1 iPhone. WhereCamp kind of rode on the shoulders of Where 2.0 as a smaller free unconference for people really interested in geo stuff.

I’ve always been interested in maps. When I was a kid, I would always want to be the navigator with map in hand while riding in the car up north with my family. In boy scouts, I was very interested in orienteering… starting from a given point, navigating to other points using a compass and a map, or sometimes only a compass. Once GPS devices got cheap enough I bought a simple, but proven Garmin eTrex and went geocaching with it. When the Google Maps API came out I got really excited and started developing all kinds of different things with it. I even created a maps subdomain and titled the page Kyle Mulka’s Google Maps. While in college, I worked with my good friend Dan Feldman on a site called liveUgli, which was a real-time study buddy finder. We used the Google Maps API, but instead of the typical world map, we used floor plans of the major study locations on campus. In order to make the site more extensible, I developed two offshoot projects. The first, Gmap Uploader, had the goal of making it really easy to get floor plans into the system. The second, Cartiki, which actually uses the Gmap Uploader, was designed to make it really easy for users to edit the locations in the system.

So, why am I doing this you might ask. Well… there’s a few reasons. The mapping projects that I have worked on so far haven’t gotten much usage. When I was playing around with the Google Maps API, I wasn’t really interested in web mapping itself, I think I was more interested in just playing around with new and cool technology. With the liveUgli, I was interested in making the life of college students better. With the Gmap Uploader and Cartiki, I was interested in building reusable components that could not only be used for liveUgli, but could be used by other developers for their projects. So, I get the feeling, I wasn’t really into mapping so much as the technology behind it, and then the applications of it. Now, I feel as though I have exhausted the interesting and useful stuff (at least to me) in the mapping space, I’m going to move on to other, more interesting things. Hopefully nothing too revolutionary (like the Google Maps API when it came out) gets released at Where 2.0 that will cause me to change my mind.

What am I going to do if I’m not going to be working on mapping projects? Well… I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve, which I will tell you about in more about in upcoming blog entries. Also, don’t forget that my day job at Amazon doesn’t have anything to do with maps, and they disbanded A9 Maps, the only mapping project they had, a while back.

So, if the only reason you are subscribed to this blog is because of your interest in Google Maps, maybe now is a good time to leave. Or, you could stay and read about my new adventures in the next phase of my life.

Public Transit on Google Maps

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

I don’t know exactly when Google Maps added this, but now you can get directions from point A to point B using public transit instead of using a car in certain major cities. This works pretty well. You search for directions between two street addresses, and click “Take Public Transit”. It then gives you three options coming up in the next few minutes to take a bus. It shows you if any transfers are necessary. It shows you how long each option will take and when you have to leave and when you will arrive. It of course shows you the route on the map and which bus numbers to look for. I’ve started to use this pretty much every day. I don’t always leave work at the same time, and I want to avoid waiting at the bus stop for too long. There are a couple bus stops near where I work, so I have to choose the right one to minimize the waiting time. I use this new feature pretty much any time I want to go anywhere because, like I’ve said before, I don’t have a car. I use Flexcar when the bus just won’t do.

Google Maps Easter Egg

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Try typing in these queries into Google Maps in order. You’ll get a kick out of the results, as long as they haven’t changed anything by the time you read this.

seattle to redmond

seattle to redmond, wa

seattle to redmondmond

UPDATE: I guess they fixed it. The first query used to be translated into “seattle to red st” or something like that with no “did you mean” option. The second would turn “redmond, wa” into “redwa”. The third option would be translated into “seattle to redmond” and give you the correct directions.

Nokia buys Navteq

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Wow… this is big. Nokia, a cell phone manufacturer buys Navteq, a map data provider for more than $8 billion in cash. Nokia has just made a huge leap off a cliff hoping that halfway down their homemade paraglider that they are going to pull out of their backpocket lifts them up to new heights.

I guess they think that this will allow them to take over the budding location based services market. Buying Navteq may allow them to take competitors out of the market by simply not providing data to them, or charging them a heafty sum of money for it.

I expected this kind of thing from Google, but not a cell phone company. I guess even Google doesn’t have $8 billion just lying around. Then again, I don’t think Google really wants to be a data company. They want to be a technology company that builds software around the data that other companies and individuals provide.

So, what happens when some other big phone manufacturer decides to buy the other major map data provider Teleatlas and both decide to no longer license data to Google? Oh… I guess no more Google Maps… even on the Apple’s iPhone…

[via All Things Digital]

Fun With 3D

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Recently (through no doubt) I bought a SpaceNavigator which is an inexpensive 3d mouse. A regular mouse only allows you to move around in two dimensions. Left and right, up and down. This 3d mouse allows you to go left, right, up, down, rotate clockwise and counterclockwise, zoom and zoom out, and tilt up, down, left, and right. The SpaceNavigator works with both Google Earth and SketchUp, so I had to play around with both of them.

In Google Earth, you don’t even need to use your regular mouse to explore every nook and cranny of planet earth. It’s even cooler with the 3d buildings turned on because you can zoom down in between buildings and pretend you are spiderman flying over a street by jumping from building to building high above the ground. With SketchUp, the 3d mouse comes in really handy for moving the camera around the 3d object that you are editing.

In order to get my hands wet with 3d modeling in SketchUp, I started out trying to model the Duderstadt Center at the University of Michigan. This is a huge building on North Campus. There was already a 3d model of the Duderstadt Center done as part of the 3d Atlas of Ann Arbor, but it was just the outline of the building in 2d raised the height of the building and images placed around the outside. I wanted to add a lot more detail. It was rather difficult at first to get all of the shapes of the building the way I wanted them. I gave up to try something simpler. So, I moved on to The Cube. I used SketchUp to model the cube in 3d, and geo-referenced it so that you can view it in Google Earth.

Google Maps Limited Zoom

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Someone had asked me if I knew how to restrict the zoom levels a user could view using the Google Maps API. I didn’t know exactly how to do it at first, but having done it before caused my brain to lead me in the right direction. I made this simple example showing how to restrict the zoom levels a user can select.

Google Maps Limited Zoom Example

Flexcar not using Google Maps?

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Wow… I can’t believe my eyes. Flexcar is using the old style of Mapquest to display the locations of their cars. This is terrible. Whenever you want to move the map or zoom in, the entire page has to load, and its slow too. It takes more than a couple seconds to load each page. Why are they not with the program, using Google Maps, or something similar?

I’m considering creating a Google Maps mashup for Flexcar, if no one can tell me of one that already exists. Anyone?

Specifically, I’m interested in the car locations in Seattle where I will be living soon.

Cartiki, a user edited database of locations

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Introducing Cartiki, a user edited database of locations. A cartography or map making wiki.

Anyone can add a location name to the database with a corresponding bounds on the map, a parent location, alternate names, and external URLs.
Other features will be released soon based on user feedback, so, send me an email and let me know what else you want to see on Cartiki!

Seattle Bus Map

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

Here’s a map of the bus routes in downtown Seattle. I’m using this to figure out if I can commute to work without a car once I start working for Amazon. The image was pulled from this page at King County Metro Online and Google Mapified using my Gmap Uploader.