Monday, December 24, 2007

The best of the Google Earth and Maps

The best of the blog via Google LatLong by Kate on 12/23/07

Since the start of Google Lat Long back in May, we've had fun keeping you updated on all the exciting new developments in the geo world -- from product launches and innovative user-created content to the evolution of the geoweb in general. As the year comes to a close, we thought we'd take a moment to look back at some of the greatest moments in news and notes by the Google Earth and Maps teams.

Street View
Since the launch of Street View in May, our post introducing the service remained one the top five most read posts consistently throughout the year. And "street view" was one the most common search keywords. So just as we did earlier this month in announcing 8 new Street View cities, we'll be sure to keep you posted on new city rollouts.

Google Earth Outreach
We heralded the arrival of this exciting new program for non-profits with a post that pointed to video footage of our kick-off event at our New York office. The video featuring an appearance by Jane Goodall was viewed over 22,000 times.

My Maps and Disaster Relief
When the My Maps tab was added to Google Maps earlier this year, we were eagerly anticipating all the cool and creative custom maps folks would be coming up with. However, we were positively floored to find the incredible maps made to aid areas in need. From flood maps created by "citizen journalists" and by BBC Berkshire to the San Diego fire maps and the Google Earth layer of Southern California imagery, the astonishing number of views pointed to new ways to help.

Sky in Google Earth
Another top post of the year, our note introducing the addition of a new Sky view in Google Earth, caught the attention of many Lat Long readers. Google Earth aficionados are able to zoom in on distant galaxies and explore constellations and supernova explosions from the comfort of their computer screens. A list of great tips on how to use Sky in Google Earth for educational purposes followed, and you can expect more updates in the new year.

YouTube videos in Google Earth
Ever watched a funny, intriguing, or outrageous YouTube video and wondered where it came from? Well, we have too. That's why we were so excited to announce the addition of a new YouTube layer in Google Earth. Videos geotagged in YouTube are included in this browseable layer, making it easy to view clips associated with a location of your choice.

Maps Mania!

2007 saw the addition of a number of great new features in Google Maps, perhaps too numerous to count. Early on in the year, the creation of the My Maps tab and the addition of countless Mapplets enabled just about anyone to create their own mashups. Throughout the year, searching for accurate and helpful directions got a whole lot easier with the launch of draggable directions and the ability to read and write user reviews of businesses, as well as edit address markers. Finally, mapmakers enjoyed the addition of cool new Maps functionalities towards the end of the year, including the ability to both collaborate on customized maps and embed them wherever you see fit, as you might a YouTube video.

As you can see, this year's been a busy one. We're all looking forward to a few days of rest and holiday cheer. And with that, we must bid adieu -- happy holidays and a wonderful new year from all of us at Google Lat Long! Stay tuned for more geo news and notes in 2008, and don't forget to track Santa!


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