Google Maps APIs are always being used to create online maps for a myriad of fun, cool, creative and fascinating uses by developers around the world.
Here are some of the most clever projects we've seen recently using the innovative API.
Visit a New York Time Machine
Recalling1993 is an incredibly unique public art project that uses some 5,000 public pay phones throughout New York City to help tell the fascinating stories of the city's mean streets, according to the folks at GoogleMapsMania.
Participants can go to any pay phone in New York, dial the toll-free number 855-FOR-1993 and hear a recorded message about what was happening in the area of that phone some 20 years ago. The stories are in the words of people who lived through the times of the past, giving callers personal history lessons from the participants.
"Step back 20 years into New York City's past," the Website says. "Call from any pay phone to hear what was happening on that block back in 1993."
Visitors can use the map on the Website to find the locations of existing pay phones so they can visit them and hear the messages. Visitors can also click on the pay phone icons on the map to hear some of the stories, if they can't visit the city.
Bicycle Through New York With Video Directions
The Cyclodeo site, built with the Google Maps API, allows travelers to get a video look at a bicycle trip through much of Manhattan in New York City without ever having to dodge a zipping taxi or errant pedestrian in the real world. Cyclodeo lets you take a look at your journey before you've actually made the trip, which can help you map out the best route to avoid traffic or find the most scenic route.
"Cyclodeo uses Google Maps and videos of a cycling route to allow the user to view the route in a YouTube video," according to GoogleMapsMania. "The videos are synced to the Google Map of the route so that the user can click anywhere on the route and view the video at that location."
The Website also offers video mapping in other cities around the world, including London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona.
Ride Sharing With Help From Google Maps
In the old days, people used to use "shared ride boards" to post notes seeking rides to and from remote locations with other people who were driving in the same direction. Now there are Google Maps apps for that.
One of them is Outpost, which takes the idea of peer-to-peer music sharing and modifies it for shared ride users.
To use Outpost, users can enter their location, describe their destination and then give timeframes for when they'd like to depart and arrive. From there, the Website walks users through the process of finding good matches for trips, as well as helping to find lodging along the way.
Google Treasure Map April Fool's Day Gag Explained
On April Fool's Day, Google presented a cool "treasure map" that allegedly allowed users to find old, lost treasures by pooling together their smartphones to generate special maps that would show the long-lost loot through the magic of cell towers.
Of course, it was all a joke.
Apparently, though, lots of people loved the creative idea and flocked to play with the site.
Soon after, the creator of the Google treasure map, Alex Griendling, who maintains the Alex Likes Design blog, posted a detailed entry telling how he put it all together.
Oh the fun you can have with Google Maps.