No Fancy Name
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
customized, annotated Google Maps
It's no secret that I love Google Maps, and yesterday Engadget posted a HOW-TO for making your own annotated Google Maps. The author of the HOW-TO got the idea for it after seeing a screencast of an annotated walking tour through Keene, NH.

The HOW-TO is really well-done, and if you're reading this and have a particularly technie frame of mind (pjm, that means you) I recommend reading it and futzing with it, especially if you have a lot of lovely photos of faraway places and think XML is cool.

So what's a girl to do when she doesn't really have interesting photos and never goes anywhere? Why, she comes up with an annotated map of a few points in her hometown, and a few points in her college town. Not spectacular in anyway, but it gave me something to do.

In order to experience the demos below (or at the HOW-TO), you will need to:
- Use Firefox
- Install the Greasemonkey extension (click link, install it, restart FF)
- Install the Google Maps User Annotation Script (right-click on link and select "install user script")

There are even more hacks for this functionality that are cross-browser and what not, but I didn't take the time to do that. Obviously in this state there are usability things that would have to be worked around for it to be a useful tool in "the real world", but it's only meant as a proof-of-concept and the HOW-TO does a good job of dealing with the concept.

To use the demos below:
- After your browser is set up, click one of the images below to go to an annotated map.
- Click the "Display Points" link in the upper left
- You will be taken to the specific mapped area
- Mapped points appear on the map, and links to the points are in the right-hand column.
- Click on a mapped point to see expanded information
- When viewing the mapped point info, click the "picture" link to see a photo of the area, that I personally took (whoo hoo!)

example 1: lewistown PA
[click to view annotated map of hometown]
example 2: staunton PA
[click to view annotated map of college town]

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