Map it. Map it good.
January 12, 2005 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Mappr demonstrates the potential of open web APIs by plotting recently uploaded Flickr photos onto their locations using an interactive map of the US. Map24 mixes Mapquest and Keyhole (previously discussed here) by doing realtime zooming on your driving directions; good for not losing context on those tricky merges. The National Map lets you see overlaid info from the US government's geologic surveys. What are some of the best designed interactive map sites?
posted by acid freaking on the kitty (19 comments total)
Mappr is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long while! Thanks for the link.
posted by jperkins at 4:38 PM on January 12, 2005

Yes, very very cool!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:58 PM on January 12, 2005

The National Map would be incredibly nifty if only it were interactive. (By "interactive", I mean that when you add/remove layers, it would have an immediate effect, rather than taking upwards of two minutes to reload.)
posted by dmd at 5:08 PM on January 12, 2005

Mappr is an interesting concept, although I'd be interested to see where the locations of the pictures correspond to major internet backbones...
posted by jackofsaxons at 5:34 PM on January 12, 2005

What are some of the best designed interactive map sites?

i guess this is related: i usually opt for non-msn-related sites, but i actually recently found mapblast to be superior to mapquest and yahoo maps - especially for driving internationally in north america. there may be another one out there that gives better driving directions, but i haven't seen it. i also like moving around a map and not having a page reload.

nice links, btw. bookmarked mappr.
posted by blendor at 5:35 PM on January 12, 2005

I'm actually trying to do an inventory of online maps that link you from a map to a specific document when you click on an area of the map, so, uhh.. keep the links coming!
posted by Hildago at 5:41 PM on January 12, 2005

I call Iraq!

And Southern California, too.
posted by effwerd at 5:54 PM on January 12, 2005

How did I get in this thread?

Sorry about that above post. Sheesh.
posted by effwerd at 5:55 PM on January 12, 2005

Mappr is indeed very cool stuff.

There's different kinds of interactive, there's Kenya interactive which takes clicks to static pages.

And then there are Canada Maps that has maps at city, country, regional and provincial levels and some very cool .

Actually, on second look, this is the motherlode of map sites . The main site is a travel agency thing but there's a very, very impressive maps section of the site with the same thing for Canada all over the world, well not the world but Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.

The amount of detail is pretty incredible, check out Carmel by the Sea.
posted by fenriq at 6:24 PM on January 12, 2005

Very cool, but still far from perfect. Right now, mappr is placing a photo of the "World War One First Division Monument" with a keyword of "Washington DC" in Monument, Oregon. Looks like it still needs some tinkering.
posted by diftb at 6:30 PM on January 12, 2005

but i actually recently found mapblast to be superior to mapquest and yahoo maps - especially for driving internationally in north america. there may be another one out there that gives better driving directions, but i haven't seen it.


(sorry. had to give my former employer proper props).
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:45 PM on January 12, 2005

There's also MapMachine from National Geographic.
posted by O9scar at 7:13 PM on January 12, 2005


i tried that one, too. the road trip planner was cool (i enjoyed the rand mcnally road trip books long ago), but still not very useful (that i could tell) for driving out of the states.
posted by blendor at 7:44 PM on January 12, 2005

Yeah... the National Map shows a ton of potential, but the interface sucks horribly. I've been wondering, though, how hard it would be to layer something over it, a flash applet or something of that nature... the data is all (presumably) public domain.

I dunno what they have in mind for it... but hopefully, it'll evolve from its current state.
posted by ph00dz at 7:59 PM on January 12, 2005

Much of what's in the National Map is being drawn from a variety of sources. The idea, eventually, is to have it draw from whatever open-source map data site is available for whatever geography you are looking at; maybe multiple sources.

They would have to be sources 'blessed" as meeting certain standards by USGS, and most will likely be state, county or local government sites. I help run one for Delaware: (self-link, of course).

We're not part of what streams into the National Map just now. We're reconfiguring the open-GIS connectors that make that possible, but we've been talking with USGS about this for some time. Stay tuned, things are getting cooler and cooler!
posted by mmahaffie at 8:30 PM on January 12, 2005

Using Map24 crashed my Firefox!
posted by billsaysthis at 8:52 PM on January 12, 2005

For a (possible) future of real estate buying and selling (or at least finding possible homes), now only for the Seattle area, take a look at the interactive mapping at (IE suggested, only because my version of firefox is missing a plug-in).
posted by WestCoaster at 9:47 PM on January 12, 2005

This may be cool and pretty, but their determination of location seems to be based entirely on the tags, which is not reliable. And I quote:

"Mappr has great confidence that this photo was taken in Hand County , South Dakota based on its tags: british columbia, cabin, guitar, hand, lisette, music."

The photo is here. All of the ones I picked at random were like that.

Nice try though.
posted by Caviar at 12:31 AM on January 13, 2005

disclaimer: I'm one of the developers of mappr.

We're definitely taking a liberal approach in placing photos right now. It seemed like the best way to get the idea across that you don't need GPS to locate your photos on a map. If you can provide enough position-related data, we can make a best guess at where it was taken - photos tagged with "sanfrancisco," for example, will generally show up in SF, as do those tagged with other city and town names. Tags like "hand" and "wood" definitely pose a problem - as do "chicken" (there's a Chicken, Alaksa") and "duck" (there's a Duck, West Virginia -- who knew?).

The alternative is to exclude places that had only limited information - to only place photos that we're pretty sure we can place accurately, perhaps by requiring both a city and state tag, say, or only placing photos tagged with zip codes - but then, how to place photos that have actually been taken in Duck, West Virginia? Requiring extensive and detailed tagging goes against the spirit of the project, which is to explore the idea of collaborative geolocation without the need for GPS. We think it's best to include more photos, and risk inaccuracy, rather than less, to encourage people to think about how they tag their photos, and to see where this all goes.

If you take a look at the news page on mappr, there's some more info on the new release (coming on January 14), and the mappr group on flickr is where some of these issues are being discussed in more detail.
posted by stamen at 10:14 AM on January 13, 2005

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