Google-Powered Site Is Great Lesson in Interactive Web Maps

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-01-22 Print this article Print

Google and NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for New York City, have partnered on a new local information Web site. is a sort of what's happening hub for tourists and adventurous locals to find hotels, restaurants, stores, theater and other stuff in the city's five boroughs.

In a proud post on Google's official blog site, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, " is the official resource on the Web for all there is to see, do and experience in the City."

That makes it official then, I guess. In any case, the site uses Google Maps to help visitors figure out how to get to MOMA, how to walk to Restaurant Row, and how to find store discounts and promotions. Users can also send the info to their phones with Google Maps for mobile, essential if they're in the city and navigating via their G1, iPhone, Treo or BlackBerry.

But you have more than your netbook or iPhone as options for exploring nycgo; Bloomberg also invited visitors to stop by the Official New York City Information Center at 810 Seventh Ave., between 52nd and 53rd streets.

The center includes interactive map tables powered by the Google Maps API for Flash that users navigate the city that never sleeps and create itineraries. There's also a Google Earth-powered video wall that displays a 3-D model of New York City to let users map out where they want to go.

Here's the demo video, and Google's marketing manager Ryan Pollock runs us through it on the Google LatLong blog:

When you walk into the Information Center, you pick up a puck that you then place on an interactive map table. Up pops a wheel that lets you select restaurants, attractions, Broadway shows, and more. You save places to the puck and then walk to the back of the hall, where you set the puck back down at a station. A gigantic video wall then shows you a Google Earth tour of the places you saved to the puck.

True to his marketing manner, Pollock also said it's one of the "most exciting real-world implementations of our Maps and Earth APIs that I have ever seen."

From the demo video alone and his explanation of how it works, I have little quarrel with Pollock. "Interactive" is no joke; this is something out of an '80s sci-fi movie. Everything is touch screeny, which is super cool.

Are those table computers Windows Surface platforms? I know Google doesn't make those yet ... or does it? More on this on TechMeme here.

Google has been busy mapping out the world's cities, especially NYC. Back in September, Google upgraded its Transit app to include information for the entire New York metropolitan region, including maps and information on New York's subway, commuter rail, bus and ferry services.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined the launch event Sept. 23 at Grand Central Terminal in New York before rollerblading over to 59th Street to chat about the new T-Mobile G1 phone. |

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