Google Maps Helps Track Snowstorm Nemo, and More Weekend Maps Fun

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-02-10

Google Maps Helps Track Snowstorm Nemo, and More Weekend Maps Fun

As Snowstorm Nemo assaulted the Northeast from New York City to Boston and beyond, New York City's public radio station, WNYC, got to work putting together a real-time storm-tracking map app using Google's Maps API.

The map was assembled to keep residents in the New York metropolitan area abreast of the powerful storm as it approaches the city. The simple map refreshed its radar images automatically every two minutes and showed snow bands as gray areas, while areas of rainfall appeared in different colors based on their intensity, according to There was even a related Transit Tracker Web page where residents could keep abreast of delays and shutdowns on transit systems during the storm.

Boston and the rest of New England was also covered by the WNYC map in connection with the approaching storm, which was being called a blizzard of historic proportions by some news agencies and weather forecasters. A Boston transit system Website also detailed transit information for residents there during the storm.

Of course, with all those snowed-in residents looking for something to do over the weekend during the blizzard, eWEEK collected a few other interesting map Web pages that have been put together using the Google Maps API.

With All of That Snow in New England, Anyone Up for Some Skiing?

A newly expanded feature of Google Maps is the addition of another 38 new run and lift maps across the United States and Canada that are now part of the growing number of ski areas that can be found on Google Maps using an iPhone or Android smartphone.

"For some of the most popular mountains across the U.S. and Canada, Google Maps is your 'go to' mountain guide," wrote Ryan Poscharsky, strategic partner manager for Google Maps, in a Feb. 6 post on the Google Maps Blog. "Whether you're shredding Squaw Valley, Big Sky, or Okemo, Google Maps are a comprehensive, accurate and easy way to find the best route down the hill."

On the maps, blue, green and black ski runs are shown as solid colored lines and ski lifts are red dotted lines, according to Poscharsky. "Ski resorts in Google Maps can also be helpful when you're gearing up for a trip. You can check out the maps on your laptop browser to plot your course, and even get a Street View preview of a few select slopes before you head up the mountain."

The latest ski areas recently added to the ski map app include Aspen Mountain in Colorado, Big Sky Resort in Montana, Deer Valley Resort in Utah, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, Mount Shasta in California, Park City Mountain Resort in Utah and Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado.

Explore the Grand Canyon From Your Living Room Sofa

Back in October, the Google Street View team sent out a team of hikers wearing backpack-mounted Street View cameras to collect full-color, detailed images of the majestic Grand Canyon. Those amazing images are now ready for viewing on Google Street View using Google Maps.

"Today, we're releasing panoramic imagery of one of the world's most spectacular national monuments: the Grand Canyon," wrote Ryan Falor, product manager for Google Maps, in a Jan. 31 post on the Google Maps Blog. "These beautiful, interactive images cover more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads, making our map of this area even more comprehensive, accurate and easy to use than ever before."

Some 9,500 panoramic, 360-degree images of the geological wonder are included on the site, wrote Falor. "Take a walk down the narrow trails and exposed paths of the Grand Canyon: hike down the famous Bright Angel Trail, gaze out at the mighty Colorado River, and explore scenic overlooks in full 360-degrees. You'll be happy you're virtually hiking once you get to the steep inclines of the South Kaibab Trail. And rather than drive a couple hours to see the nearby Meteor Crater, a click of your mouse or tap of your finger will transport you to the rim of this otherworldly site."

Google Maps Helps Track Snowstorm Nemo, and More Weekend Maps Fun

Forget the Snow and Check Out Some Auto-Racing Tracks

If snow and hiking aren't your ideas of fun, then check out some of the cool maps available of some 183 specialized automobile racing tracks in 36 countries around the world. Created by GP Circuits, the maps offer aerial views and a cool feature that lets the viewer switch to a "3-D Fly-Through" that puts you in a virtual driver's seat as you "drive" the course on the map. There are even details and still photos of many of the tracks, which range in size from small regional tracks such as the 1.95-mile-long Blackhawk Farms course in southern Wisconsin to the famous Daytona International Speedway in Florida. This is a "must-view" map site for car, truck and motorcycle racing fans around the globe.

Play Virtual Games in the Streets of London, Paris and Milan

Shoe company Converse and sports shoe retailer Foot Locker have begun offering a free game app, Street Ready, that runs the Google Maps API and takes participants on fun walks in London, Paris and Milan to capture game "tokens" and earn small prizes. The simple and amusing game allows participants to move around the locations one by one. The goal is to navigate around each city to reach on-screen "markers," which then transform into shoe icons," according to a Feb. 6 post by Mano Marks of the Maps Developer Relations Team on the Google Geo Developers Blog. As players collect the needed tokens, they can complete the levels and move on to the next city for another round of the game. Some of the icons turn into a pair of headphones, which allow the player to download song files as prizes. Other prizes are also available.

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