For years, Google Maps has been the map of our world in a historically unprecedented way. The new Google Maps (announcement) will eschew the uniformity of the old Maps and instead customize the map experience based on a user's behavior. Some are concerned how this artificial narrowing will affect the way we experience places and relate to our urban spaces. Others believe the customization makes the new maps more honest. Most, however, will probably just want to comment on the huge overhaul to the interface.
How Google and Apple's digital mapping is mapping us "Digital maps on smartphones are brilliantly useful tools, but what sort of information do they gather about us – and how do they shape the way we look at the world?"
The official Google Earth plugin is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. There's a full screen version of the program (complete with underwater views and 3D buildings) which can be searched by entering queries at the end of the URL. There's a framed version with support for layers, historical imagery, day/night cycles, and the Google Sky starmap. Less useful but more fun are Google's collection of "experiments" demonstrating the possibilities of the Earth API, including a "Geo Whiz" geography quiz, an antipode locater, a 3D first-person view of San Francisco, a virtual route-follower, and MONSTER MILKTRUCK!, a crazy fun driving simulator that lets you careen a virtual milk truck through the Googleplex campus, ricochet off the Himalayas, or explore any other place you care to name. Lots more can be found in the Google Earth Gallery -- highlights include a look at mountaintop removal mining, a real-time flight tracker, a guide to trails and outdoor recreation, a 360 panorama catalog, geotagged Panoramio photos, and the comprehensive crowdsourced Google Earth Community Layer. And while it's too large to view online, don't miss loading the Metafilter user location map into a desktop version of Google Earth! [more inside]
The Agnostic Cartographer : How Google’s open-ended maps are embroiling the company in some of the world’s touchiest geopolitical disputes.
Biblemap.org is an interactive map system for the bible, which is great for visualising where certain biblical events are said to have occured. It's also great for people who don't subscribe to any kind of organised religion but do like looking at maps (like me!).