Friday, June 29, 2007

Google maps and mashups

My teeny, teeny house
Originally uploaded by MizMagee

This is my house. Happily, it isn't a picture of my house from Google maps - how creepy would that be! But I did find a satellite picture of my house, or at least the roof, on Google maps. So far Google maps hasn't gotten down to cat in the window level in Fairbanks. When they do get that detailed, Fairbanks being the place it is, I expect what will be seen in windows won't be napping cats, but, instead, cranky faces and expressive hand gestures.

I've used Google maps twice as a travel aid. One map was on the button, but the other left me in an empty lot late at night in Austin, Texas, wondering where the heck my motel was. That was an exciting travel adventure!

Google mashups are an entirely different (and entertaining!) story. I went to Cool Google Maps and discovered that I could find out where to locate a taco truck in Seattle, and, even better, I could read a history of each truck's health inspections. If you're curious, hungry for a taco, or on the lookout for ptomaine or salmonella, go here.

Another Google mashup will tell you where in Chicago recent crimes have happened. You can filter your query by location, a list which includes animal hospitals, car washes, day care centers, libraries and sidewalks. I found this list quite alarming and would, frankly, advise simply staying away from the windy city, or, at the very least, plead with you to have your hamster neutered somewhere else. However, if you insist on placing yourself in danger, you can go here to find a likely spot.

And remember, if you can't get out and travel, you can always visit the rooftops of the world on Google Maps.

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