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Showing posts with label Google My Maps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google My Maps. Show all posts


Mapping for the Masses: Accessing Web 2.0 through Crowdsourcing

Our latest working paper is now available for download - entitled Mapping for the Masses: Accessing Web 2.0 through Crowdsourcing.


The paper first develops the network paradigm that is currently dominating the way we think about the internet and introduce varieties of social networking that are being fashioned in interactive web environments. This serves to ground our arguments about Web 2.0 technologies. These constitute ways in which users of web-based services can take on the role of producers as well as consumers of information that derive from such services with sharing becoming a dominant mode of adding value to such data.

These developments are growing Web 2.0 from the ground up, enabling users to derive hitherto unknown, hidden and even new patterns and correlations in data that imply various kinds of social networking.

We define crowdsourcing and crowdcasting as essential ways in which large groups of users come together to create data and to add value by sharing. This is highly applicable to new forms of mapping. We begin by noting that maps have become important services on the internet with nonproprietary services such as Google Maps being ways in which users can fashion their own functionality. We review various top-down and bottom-up strategies and then present our own contributions in the form of GMapCreator that lets users fashion new maps using Google Maps as a base.

We have extended this into an archive of pointers to maps created by this software, which is called MapTube, and we demonstrate how it can be used in a variety of contexts to share map information, to put existing maps into a form that can be shared, and to create new maps from the bottom up using a combination of crowdcasting, crowdsourcing and traditional broadcasting.

The paper concludes by arguing that these developments define a neogeography which is essentially ‘mapping for the masses’.

Download the paper as a pdf (1.8Mb)

Those interested may also like to check out our full working paper series, including the recent The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life.


The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life: Working Paper 142

The world of Geographic Information (GI) Science has changed. It has experienced expeditious growth over the last few years leading to fundamental changes to the field. Web 2.0, specifically The Cloud, GeoWeb and Wikitecture are revolutionising the way in which we present, share and analyse geographic data.

In this paper we outline and provide working examples a suite of tools which are detailed below, aimed at developing new applications of GIS and related technologies. GeoVUE is one of seven nodes in the National Centre for e-Social Science whose mission it is to develop web-based technologies for the social and geographical sciences. The Node, based at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London has developed a suite of free software allowing quick and easy visualisation of geographic data in systems such as Google Maps, Google Earth, Crysis and Second Life.

These tools address two issues, firstly that spatial data is still inherently difficult to share and visualise for the non-GIS trained academic or professional and secondly that a geographic data social network has the potential to dramatically open up data sources for both the public and professional geographer.

With our applications of GMap Creator, and MapTube to name but two, we detail ways to intelligently visualise and share spatial data. This paper concludes with detailing usage and outreach as well as an insight into how such tools are already providing a significant impact to the outreach of geographic information.

Such tools open up a cornucopia of possibilities for the world of GI Science, especially for geovisualisation and it is high time to embrace the Neogeographer, the data and perhaps more importantly the services they are creating.

Welcome to the new world of geographic information.

Authored by Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith (Digital Urban) and Dr Andrew Crooks (

You can download the full paper The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life in .pdf format (9.8Mb).


Digital Geography: Geographic Visualisation for Urban Environments - The Booklet

Our booklet: Digital Geography - Geographic Visualisation for Urban Environments has just come back from the printers and its looking good (even if we do say so ourselves). Printed in full colour the 10 x 8 inch booklets runs to 64 pages of insights and tutorials on Virtual Earth, Google Earth, Google Maps, Panoramas and Second Life.

With a focus on Neogeography, Web 2.0 and the emerging techniques for urban visualisation it has been written as a taster of the forthcoming Digital Urban book to be published fourth quarter of 2008.

The booklet should be available to purchase at the below cost price of £9.99 from this blog next Wednesday 26th March (ie after the Easter Closure). Supply is limited so feel free to drop us a email in advance if you would like a copy reserved, world wide postage will be free.


Virtual Tourism - Google Maps and Google Earth

The ability to embed YouTube movies into Google Maps and now more recently in Google Earth opens up the ability to view video of locations. As such the concept is almost custom made for Virtual Tourism and the aptly named Virtual Toursim blog has created a map with over 150 movies.

They kindly include the code to embed the map, take a look below - each icon indicates a movie to view:

View Larger Map

The videos can also be viewed in Google Earth, visit Virtual Tourism for the KML file.


Embedding MyMaps into a Blog or Webpage Direct

This is now the third post on 'How to Embed Google MyMaps into a blog' and finally it has been integrated direct into the Google MyMaps service.

Once you have created your MyMap simply click on the 'Link to this page' option and the code is available to cut and paste into a website or blog:
Once your code is inserted your MyMaps will appear directly in a blog post - as illustrated below:

View Larger Map

While this is a quick and easy route our original 'Embedding MyMaps into Blogger' tutorial is still preferable as it uses MyMapsPlus which allows the sidebar and thus the key to the map to be included in the page.

To be honest we are not sure why Google left out the option to include the sidebar - given that it is a integral part of the map?


Google MyMaps and Flickr - Save Removed?

In our tutorial on 'How to GeoTag Photographs on the Nokia N95 for Google MyMaps and Flickr' we provide a walk through of how to view your geotagged images in Google MyMaps.

It seems however that the option to 'Save to MyMaps' has been removed by Google for Flickr images which leaves only the ability to view via an RSS feed.

The main strength of MyMaps is the ability to integrate geotagged media quickly and easily- if anyone knows why the 'Save' option no longer works with Flickr feeds feel free to drop us an email or post a comment. As such the tutorial still stands true up until the 'to add them to My Maps simple click on each icon and choose 'Save to My Maps' section.

You can view how to it used to work via our geotagged images from the Nokia N95 on our My Maps page.


Google My Maps Bug (?) - Update 2

Another update - this seems to of been fixed, embedding video in Google My Maps seems to be working fine. We have added a new sample video, captured using the Nokia N95, to our map showing our location in Santa Barbara.


With regards the post below, Google have let us know that a fix in the in works - it should take 1-2 weeks before its live.


We are big fans of Google's My Maps, it has allowed any level of user to create their own maps complete with polygons, lines and embedded data. We are however having a lot of difficulty with the embedding video feature.

In our previous post we examined how to embed video into My Maps - by simply cutting and pasting YouTube code. If you take a look at our My Maps page you can see an example of embedding video under the 'Audio and Perception of Urban Space link'.

We have a series of other videos ready to embed via YouTube, detailing our recent travels, yet try as we may we cannot get the video to embed into My Maps. The problem seems to be with the save function - we can cut and paste YouTube code and view the video on the map but as soon as we save the video and the code is lost. Going back to re-edit the location reveals a blank box where the code was.

The interesting thing is that if we cut and paste the exisiting 'Audio and Perception of Urban Space' video this works and saves, the code is only lost if we change the link to a different movie.

It maybe a simple problem but its one that we are lost on... Any ideas?


Google My Maps - Map of the Week

Time was if you wanted to go on a local walk you would either pick up a leaflet at the local tourism office or unfold a map and plan your own route. The release of Google My Maps, which allows you to create your own maps, is replacing this need with user generated local walking guides.

Pictured above is a walk around Chelsea, London created by Paul Thompson. The walking route takes you on a tour from Sloane Square, across to Partridges - The Queens Bakery - and round to take in a number of sites including where Charles Dickens got married in 1836.

Such routes add a new visual interface to the city and one that up until a few weeks ago would of taken either editing of XML and a Google API key or reliance on the various third party Google Mapping solutions. The ability to create and edit one's own maps, complete with polygons, lines and embedded media should not be underestimated. Yet in today's world of increasingly sophisticated, easy to use, and free software it is becoming commonplace to take such functionality for granted.

If you combine such features with hand held devices, such as the Nokia N95, you can automatically create such tours using the GPS features and tagging photographs to each location. See our Tutorial on GeoTagging Photographs on the N95 for more details.

Take a look at the Chelsea Walk in Google's My Maps.

If you have created a map that you would like included in this new series of posts then let us know.


Embedding My Maps into Blogger

Embedding My Maps into blogger has taken a couple of weeks for various services to iron out but it now seems possible, complete with sidebar, icons and embedded video.

The map above was created using firstly Google My Maps and then embedded using the script service at My Maps Plus. The benefit of My Maps Plus is the ability to customise the look of your map and the elements you want to include.

Embedding your map into Blogger, or any website, is easy - you simple copy your Google My Maps KML link and then choose various display options. My Maps Plus then creates a script that you cut and paste into your page.

We will be working on a permanent map for the side bar, but for now the map above contains Video on the 'Audio and Perception of Urban Space' link, our current location, recent travels and Geolocated photographs using the Nokia N95.

Double click to zoom in and out/ double click and drag to pan.

Sure its a little squashed on the page but i think its usable...?


How to Geotag Photographs on the Nokia N95 for Google My Maps and Flickr

Its taken a bit of time to work this one out but with a few simple steps you can capture geotagged photographs on your Nokia N95, upload to Flickr and then add them to Google's My Maps.

The process is simple:

Initial Set Up

1) First off go to - Shozu is freely available software that allows you to both geotag photographs on your N95 and upload to a number of online services, in our case Flickr.

Sign up with the site and select the Nokia N93 as your phone (the N95 is not yet listed). You will be asked to set up a user name and password as well as your mobile number. Once registered ShoZu will send a text along with a link to download the software. We downloaded via a Wi-Fi link to make sure we didn't incur any phone charges;

2) Install ShoZu on your N95 and login to your account using the username and password you set up. This will authenticate your account allowing you to log back into the web based service and set up a number of destinations to upload your photographs;

3) To enable uploading to Flickr go to the web page and selecting the 'Share It' tag. Now simply go through the process of allowing ShoZu the required rights to upload to your account.

This completes the set up ShoZu in terms of services, we now simply need to turn on GPS tagging;

4) Open ShoZu on your N95 and go to: Options/View and then the images tag which is indicated by a film strip icon. The 4th option is GPS Tagging, switch this to On.

Capturing and Uploading

1) Open either Nokias 'Maps' or the 'Sports Tracker' application and make sure you are getting a GPS fix, we use Sports Tracker as it allows us to additionally upload our route to Google Earth/Maps;

2) Start taking your pictures, with ShoZu installed each photograph will have a location tag written into its EXIF information.

3) Open ShoZu and select Share-It/All files, this will display a list of your photographs. Select the image your want to upload and click Options, this displays the choice to Send to Flickr. Select send and your image will be uploaded, again we uploaded via Wi-Fi to minimise any data charges.

Your images will now be available on your Flickr page and automatically geotagged. Within Flickr you can choose to view by map which opens a Yahoo Map page, we prefer Googles My Maps options:

1) At the bottom of your Flickr Photos page you will see a RSS Feed Icon and the Feed link - Right click on this link and copy the link location;

2) Login into your Google Maps account and paste the feed location into the search box - now add the following to the end of the paste '&georss=true' (without the ')

3) Running the search will display your photographs from the N95 on Google Maps via Flickr, to add them to My Maps simple click on each icon and choose 'Save to My Maps'

You can view our geotagged images from the Nokia N95 on our My Maps page.


Embedding Google My Maps and YouTube

A slightly hidden feature of the new Google My Maps service is the ability to embed video directly within the map. Using the 'edit html' option you can simply cut and paste any embed tag from YouTube or Google Video.

The ability to include video, and therefore audio, combined with path overlays lends itself to visualising our Audio and Perception of Urban Space posts.

To recap - Our perception of urban space is based on sight, smell, sound and to some extent touch. Portable music became main stream in 1979 with the introduction of the Sony Walkman and with it came a change to the way we perceive the space around us. By filtering out the natural and man made sounds of the city we are able to immerses ourselves in an alternative reality of our choosing.

The rise of the Ipod has placed this change of perception at our fingertips and the choice of music directly affects the way we perceive the city space. In our example within Google Maps you can view our route taken with audio from the House of Love...

View our Google My Maps with embedded YouTube (click the Audio and Perception of the City layer and then play within the video)

To create your own map go to Google Maps and select My Maps.


Mapping Just Got Easier - Google My Maps

Creating your own Google Maps used to be in the domain of people willing to open notepad and hack around with the code while applying for an API key. Google have now made the process a lot easier with the release of 'My Maps'.

The creation process is predictably easy with the ability to add placemarks, icon types, polygons and lines. It was only a few months ago that placing a polygon on the map would of meant dipping into a high powered GIS (Geographic Information Package) and perhaps enrolling on a University course. It is now simply a case of drawing your shape and clicking 'save'.

We have created our first map which you can view here. The map contains a red icon which will act as an update to our current location - think of it as a map based personal Twitter. We haven't worked out how to embed the map into the blog yet as interestingly the Google help files have yet to to be updated.

Once your map is made and shared you can also click on the KML option and view it in Google Earth (thanks to the Google Earth Blog for that tip). Google's My Map may pass slightly unnoticed but it should go down as a defining moment in the ability to produce and distribute maps.

To create your own map go to Google Maps and select My Maps.