Google Maps: View Space Station Images, Find Parking, Report UFOs
Google's cool Maps APIs always seem to be helping innovative software developers find new ways to display information for users around the world. We here at eWEEK are always combing the Internet, looking for interesting Google Maps sites to share with our readers.
So what did we come up with this time? Scan our list below and see what cool sites you might discover.
Our World From the ISS
The International Space Station, which has been in Earth's orbit since Nov. 2, 2010, has hosted more than 200 astronauts over the years as they have conducted research and experiments in orbit. Those astronauts have also been busy taking lots of photographs from space.
At Our World From Space, visitors can see spectacular images posted recently by two of the latest crew members, Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield and American Thomas H. Marshburn, M.D., before they returned to Earth May 13. Hadfield is the astronaut who sang David Bowie's song, "Space Oddity," from the station recently, garnering him quite a bit of instant fame on YouTube.
The images are clickable from a map of the Earth and they are spectacular, showing cities across the globe. There are images of San Francisco, Chicago, New York City and foreign cities, including Rome and Casablanca. When clicking on the map, be sure to hold down the left mouse button and drag the cursor to make it easier to locate the images you want to view.
You know how hard it can be to find a parking place when you need one in most urban areas? That's where the Google Maps-enabled Website Park Me comes in handy. It claims to work in 28,000 locations in 1,800 cities on seven continents to help you park your vehicle. There's a browser-based version and an iOS app that can help users find a parking place on the fly, whether it's free on the street or in a paid parking lot. It can even help find parking in airport lots.
At HealthMap, visitors can view real-time listings and reports of pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks going on around the world. Created by researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children's Hospital, the site collects health and disease reports from a wide range of notable sources and presents them to keep health officials abreast of emerging public health threats everywhere on Earth. The data comes from sources, including the World Health Organization, GeoSentinel, the OIE-World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Android and iOS app versions are also available.
If UFO spotting or tracking is up your alley, you need to know about UFO Stalker, a Google Maps site where visitors can track the latest UFO reports from around the world and make their own sighting reports when they happen.
The site was established by the Mutual UFO Network, which was formed in 1969 for "the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity," according to the group's Website. UFO Stalker is a real-time UFO-tracking system that gives an immediate view into worldwide UFO activity, past and present, according to the group. UFO trends and UFO statistics are recalculated every hour.
When the site is first loaded, the most recent UFO sighting report is centered on the UFO map. Visitors can search and explore the sightings using the on-screen tools.