Google Maps Add-Ons

Google Maps labs have added the following functions to google maps. What do you think of them? Leave your comments below.

Google Maps Labs is a testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime. They may change, break or disappear at any time.

If such a feature breaks, and you’re having trouble loading Maps, use this escape hatch: /maps?ftr=0.

  • Distance Measurement Tool
    Adam S, Andrey S, James M, Seth L
    Measure the distance of a path on the Earth
  • Short URL
    Ben A, Holly D
    Shorten the Maps “Link” to be a more compact URL.
  • Show Me Here!
    Cornelius Q
    Adds an option to the context menu that lets you zoom directly to the maximum zoom level at the point under the cursor.
  • Drag ‘n’ Zoom
    Dave D
    Zooming in on a specific part of the map is now fast and easy. Simply click the Drag ‘n’ Zoom button, draw a box on the map, and zoom! You’re there!
  • Aerial Imagery
    Jez F, Dave D, Jennifer C
    Add Aerial imagery to the map! Aerial imagery gives you rotatable, high-resolution overhead imagery presented in a new perspective. Currently imagery is only available in certain areas, but we’re adding more all the time.
  • Back to Beta
    David S
    Gmail isn’t the only one that can enjoy a BETA tag.
  • Where in the World Game
    Jez F
    Test your knowledge of world geography! Guess the name of the country from satellite imagery, and try to beat your top score!
  • Rotatable Maps
    Cornelius Q
    Tired of North always being up? Add rotatable map types and give East, West and South a fair go.
  • What’s Around Here?
    Michael A
    Adds a button that displays the most popular places in the current map view. A great way to browse the map.
  • LatLng Tooltip
    Marcelo C
    Displays a tooltip next to the mouse cursor showing the latlng directly underneath it.
  • LatLng Marker
    Marcelo C
    Adds an option to the context menu that lets you drop a mini marker showing the latlng of the position that the cursor was pointing at when the context menu was evoked
  • Smart Zoom
    Jez F
    Ever zoom in too far and get the message “We don’t have imagery at this zoom level”? Ensure you don’t see it again, with Smart Zoom, which will check in advance what imagery exists, and ensure you can’t zoom in beyond it.

GeoSMS is here?!?!

GeoSMS is here. Read this news article from the India Times. Will this become a dead format or the future for locating people? You can also see the GeoSMS website here. Not sure I get the practicability of using this. You send a text message saying “where are you?” to your mate. Are they really going to send a message back saying “I’m at geo: 51.727272, -0.1818181″Or are they going to say “I’m at the Golf Club!”.

I think one of the potential uses is in humanitarian work. Often with MapAction we find ourselves in remote locations away from the field base and need to let them know where we are. I can see GeoSMS would be very useful for this.

Also,  the real power (which the article alludes too) lies with the mobile phone developers. Add GeoSMS standard to the phone’s OS and you’ve got a simple tracking device. I know there are lots of apps (Android and iPhone) which already geolocate you. But for my phone Samsung Jet (pile of rubbish!) there isn’t a lot out there. Perhaps GeoSMS is too late and has missed the boat. Or is it? Time will tell. What do you think?