Google lets users build own maps

Google has introduced a new feature that lets users create personalised maps that plot the location of everything from cheap petrol to the latest earthquakes worldwide.

Google lets users build own maps

The new feature allows consumers to select from more than 100 mini-applications created by independent software developers. These allow users to overlay data on top of Google’s popular online map service. “We are putting the web into maps,” says John Hanke, product manager for Google Maps.

Visitors to Google Maps will find a new tab that contains links to dozens of the mini-applications, which Google calls Maplets.

One allows users to watch YouTube videos based on the locations where they are uploaded Others allow users to link famous photos taken in locations around the world to Google Maps. Alternately, photos that have location information on the Flickr photo sharing service can be found on a Flickr Maps application. Users can map local house prices, plot hotels or locate the cheapest petrol station nearby.

Furthermore, users can overlay multiple applications on top of Google Maps to find interesting geographical correlations. Before buying a house, a potential property owner could overlay local crime statistics on their new neighbourhood, for example.

Alternatively, tourists could check out photos posted by other visitors to sites such as Yahoo’s Flickr to figure out what the hotel or the surrounding region looks like before they book a reservation.

Consumers who have signed up for a Google Gmail account can save personalised maps. Users who choose not to sign into Google services can remain anonymous but stil use the service, Hanke says.

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