Google Maps Apps for Asteroids, Stadium Tours, 2014 Olympics

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-02-17

Google Maps Apps for Asteroids, Stadium Tours, 2014 Olympics

Innovative Google Maps apps are always being developed by creative designers for a wide range of uses, including real-time events that are in the news, such as the 2012 DA14 asteroid that just passed within 17,200 miles of the Earth Feb. 15.

But what if 2012 DA14 had hit the Earth? What kind of damage would have occurred?

Now people can get a virtual image of the possible destruction by visiting the "What if an asteroid or comet hits my town?" impact calculator tool that was built using the Google Maps API by the folks at Users can select from a list of famous cities or they can choose to customize their search with the name of any city or town on Earth, then click the "Go!" button to watch an imposing simulation of the damage that would ensue from a meteor or comet that might strike.

A famous location where a meteor struck the Earth is in Arizona, where Meteor Crater is a 570-foot-deep, 4,000-foot-wide testament to the destructive power of a meteor that struck millions of years ago. Meteor Crater can be seen and explored on Google Maps Street View.

But that's not all you can explore this weekend with cool Google Maps apps. There's plenty more where that came from.

Google Maps First—Peer Inside an NFL Stadium With Google Maps

Now that the Super Bowl and the 2012-13 NFL season is over, football fans will have a long winter, spring and summer to ponder what could have been with their teams. But if they still want a little football, Google Maps has a possible solution with its first-ever 360-degree VIP tour of the insides of Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Indianapolis Colts host their games. It's the first of what could potentially be tours of other NFL stadiums to come.

"This is the first imagery of inside an NFL stadium in Google Maps, and another example of how we're working hard (and having fun!) building the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world—complete with imagery from inside your favorite sporting venues," Evan Rapoport, product manager for Google Maps, wrote in a Feb. 15 post on the Google Maps Blog. "With this new interactive, 360 degree imagery, you can march out of the tunnel and down the field towards the end zone, just like Andrew Luck did all season.

"Or check out the Colts' locker room where Head Coach Chuck Pagano gave his memorable post-game locker room speech on Nov. 4, after an inspirational win against the Miami Dolphins. You can also explore the stadium’s three concourses and suites, including the Quarterback Suite, a Field Level Suite and Loge-Level Suite," Rapoport wrote.

Google Maps Apps for Asteroids, Stadium Tours, 2014 Olympics

Get a Detailed, Printed Map for Your Upcoming Trip From KLM for Free

KLM Airlines wants to help you prepare for your upcoming trip with a free service that will let you make a map of your destination, add the details about places you want to visit and have it printed and mailed to you for free so you can streamline and plan your travels. The Pack & Go map from KLM was built using the Google Maps API.

The map service also allows users to share their maps with friends using Facebook, Twitter or email so that they can get suggestions for additional spots to visit. The offer for the free maps is available through March 8, or until the supply of free maps is exhausted, according to the Website.

Take a Neighborhood Quiz

"Click that 'Hood" is the name of a simple 16-city online quiz game where participants can choose a city and click on a map to locate and identify neighborhoods in the area. Participants are timed as they hover over the map and identify the neighborhoods in a quiz format. It's not very detailed or challenging, but it is fun to play along to test a person’s neighborhood-naming skills. So far, only 16 U.S. cities are included, such as Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Louisville, Milwaukee, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle.

Preview the Sites of the 2014 Sochi, Russia, Winter Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, won't get under way for another year, but that doesn't mean that viewers have to wait to see the venues where the events will be held., which is not affiliated with Google, recently posted a fun blog entry about the buildings that will be used for the events in Sochi, where preparations are under way

Aerial Google Maps Street View images are highlighted for the 11 competition venues in Sochi, starting with the brand-new Sochi Olympic Park, according to the post. Ski areas and bobsled areas are also illustrated in the images.

Making Public Zoning Data More Interesting

Remember the popular SimCity computer games? The SimCity theme now has been used to build a Google Maps app showing the zoning districts in Chicago that's easier to understand and use than typical zoning maps, according to a recent post on GoogleMapsMania.

The 2nd City Zoning map "uses the red, yellow and blue colors that will be familiar to any fans of the long-running computer game, to show the zoning patterns throughout the city," according to GoogleMapsMania. "Green zones are residential, blue are commercial and yellow signifies industrial. It is even possible to select from a number of songs from the Sim City game to listen to as you browse the map."

Maybe the map app will inspire more residents to turn out for those exciting Chicago zoning board meetings.

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