Online maps bring a world of adventure with the help of Google Maps APIs that are used by developers around the world to create interesting, compelling and fun-to-use Websites.
With that in mind, it’s time for another eWEEK roundup of some of the coolest sites recently discovered online that incorporate Google Maps APIs and use maps in different ways.
Brain Challenge: Identify Cities Through Maps
It shouldn’t be very hard to identify a city by seeing an overheard map view of it, should it? It sure sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, if you’re so smart, you should try out the Map Race game, where visitors are shown an aerial map photo and asked to identify its location. The tough part is if that first view is a very up-close view of an area, which makes it tough to spot. So then you can pan out to see more of the image, but then you are hit with a time penalty each time for needing a hint.
Man, it can be frustrating. Oh, but it can be fun and very addictive, too. Visitors can use a drop-down menu that gives hints and multiple choices in the “easy” and “medium-hard” versions of the game, but if you think you are ready for the “hard” version, you’d better be up to the task because you only get one single hint to help you along the way.
The game was the brainchild of Henry Reich, who came up with the idea for Map Race during the 2012 Olympics when he was exploring the great cities of Europe from a friend’s living room, according to the Website.
Bob Dylan Sang About That Place
Singer/songwriter and music icon Bob Dylan just celebrated his 72nd birthday May 24, and to mark the occasion, Slate unveiled a map of Bob Dylan’s World, an interactive map featuring the locations of every Dylan song that he wrote about a place.
This map is very cool and features details and entries that you might not even realize were included in Dylan’s vast song library.
There’s an entry in Washington state, at the Grand Coulee Dam in Grand Coulee, where Dylan wrote “Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull/From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol,” from his 1975 song “Idiot Wind.”
Then there’s the spot where Dylan was singing about the Empire State Building in New York City, “It’s a mighty long ways from the Golden Gate/To Rockefeller Center ‘n the Empire State,” from the 1961 song “Hard Times in New York Town.”
And of course, there is Paterson, N.J., where Dylan sang his 1976 song, “Hurricane,” about former boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was convicted of murder and later freed.
For longtime Dylan fans, this will be a very welcome and intriguing map site.
Google Maps Help Find City Quizzes, Dylan Trivia, Garage Sales
Garage Sale Finder
If garage sales are your thing, then you should know about Garage Sales by Map. With this site, you can look for garage sales in your area and then map out a route so you can cover them in the most efficient way. The listings include garage sales, moving sales, community yard sales, multi-family sales and city-wide garage sales. Click “Sale Details” to view the full listing with dates, times and other information. Users can create a trip planner and print out their maps to head out on the road to garage sale nirvana.
Craft Beer Finder
When local, regional and creative craft beers are on your agenda, be sure to check out BreweryMap, an online guide to help craft beer fans find more than 23,500 beers and more than 4,600 breweries around the world. Created by a group of developers who “share a common love of drinking great beer, home brewing and discovering great new breweries,” according to the site, the beer finder is also available as an app in the Apple App Store for iPhone or iPod Touch, and in the Google Android Marketplace for Android smartphones.
Users who don’t have smartphones can even access the database via text message by sending a text to 919-701-BREW. Visitors are also welcome to add comments, feedback and their own entries to the map.
Walk and Gawk Through Any Town or City
Now you can create your own self-guided tours of any locale, whether you want to go shopping, dining or browsing historical sites using the cool mapping site from StreetScout. The site asks visitors to type in their starting and ending addresses and then to choose what kind of information is desired along the way.
“StreetScout helps you to find whatever you’re trying to find, on the way to wherever it is you happen to be going anyway,” according to the site. You can look for anything—from clothing stores to pizza shops to restaurants and more and find them along your route.
A StreetScout iPhone app is available in the Apple App Store, but versions for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone are not yet ready.
Discover New Mountain Biking Trails
If finding great mountain bike trails gets your blood pumping, then you should check out the MTB Project’s online maps, where visitors can find oodles of biking options inspired by other mountain bikers.
The maps are incredibly detailed, with trail descriptions, full GPS route information, elevation profiles, interactive features, photos and more. There are even suggested “Featured Rides” to explore and a “Virtual Ride” feature that lets visitors visually experience trails before they actually get there. The MTB Project is a partnership of Adventure Projects and the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). Visitors can even log in and share their own trails, rides, input and reviews.