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Guest post by Bob Hitching, Director of Technology for Xumii, recently acquired by Myriad (Myriad Group AG), Europe's largest mobile technology company with software in over 2 billion phones.Bob also writes about mobile + geo + social on his blog and tweets as @hitching.

GeoMeme is a pet project of mine. It's a web app, and also a mobile web app for iPhone and Android, that measures real-time local twitter trends to work out what's happening where.

Visitors to GeoMeme choose a location on the map, and two search terms to compare. GeoMeme then measures and compares the number of matching tweets within the bounds of the map. Tweets are located using Twitter's brand new geotagging feature, and public data from a number of mobile twitter apps.

As an example, GeoMeme can work out that 'love' beats 'hate' in New York:

GeoMeme is packed full of geo goodness, and I am excited to share some details on how it all works in the following articles. I hope these are useful to those of you building your own geo apps.

Location-aware mobile web apps using Google Maps v3 + geolocation

This article explains how location-aware mobile web apps such as GeoMeme Mobile are now becoming a viable alternative to native mobile apps for iPhone &/or Android.

Also covered is how to combine various geolocation techniques to work out where on earth a mobile phone is located, and how to dynamically retrieve content local to the user for display on a mobile map.

Sample code is provided in the form of a 'Here I Am' location-aware mobile web app that combines geolocation techniques, and retrieves local photos from Panoramio for sharing on Twitter or Facebook.

Fast map re-location using Google Static Maps v2 + geocoder

As well as offering users the normal pan and zoom controls to move the map around, GeoMeme also adds an innovative geo-autocomplete control which provides a refreshingly quick way for users to re-position the map anywhere on the planet.

This article explains how the geo-autocomplete control uses the geocoder service from Google Maps v3 API to match location names as they are being typed, and then the new Static Maps v2 API to present the results as a menu of map thumbnails to choose from.

Sample code is provided in the form of a jQuery plugin for you to build your own geo-autocomplete controls.

Scalable, fast, accurate geo apps using Google App Engine + geohash + faultline correction

GeoMeme generates a large amount of geo-data, and so arises a need shared by many geo apps: scalable, fast, and accurate spatial queries, to select a subset of geo-data for display as markers on a map.

This article is all about using Google App Engine to host scalable and fast geo apps, and using an optimised version of the geohash algorithm to perform your spatial queries.

There's a fun demo showing the effect of geohash faultlines, and the relative accuracy of spatial queries with or without faultline correction

Sample code is provided as a python module to handle faultline-friendly geo search, if you want to use this technique on your own geo apps.

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Over the last four years, developers have created hundreds of thousands of mashups that use the various Maps APIs. These range from practical and useful to fun and bizarre. With so many API sites out there, how do you find one about a specific topic and place, say "wine shops in New York City"? Or how would the developer of this mashup get his site in front of users looking for something to do in New York?

You may have noticed that user-created "My Maps" are shown on Google Maps when searching or looking at a specific place. Similarly, we think that there are many Google Maps API sites that would be very interesting to users searching on Google Maps. So we've been working on a way to expose relevant Maps API sites on Google Maps. In order to do this well, we need to know the location and content of the markers and/or infowindows that are displayed on these mashups. In a few weeks, we will turn on new functionality that helps Google to log this information from mashups that are using the JavaScript Maps API v2. We'll announce the exact date as we get closer but we wanted to provide an early look into our plans.

We realize that some of your markers or infowindows may contain information that you don't want us to display in search results or on Google Maps. Your content may be personal in nature or perhaps you don't have the necessary rights to allow indexing of the content you are displaying. Maps API Premier customers in particular may not want their content indexed and displayed in Google Maps. To ensure that this new feature doesn't cause any issues, we have put a few controls in place:

  1. We only index data from maps that have been viewed by many unique users. For example, maps only viewed by you and a few friends won't be indexed.
  2. If your page is protected by robots.txt, we will not index your content.
  3. You can opt-out of the logging by specifying "indexing=false" when loading the API For example:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?file=api&v=2&key=abcdefg&sensor=true&indexing=false
  4. If you are a Maps API Premier customer, we will not index data from your maps, unless you opt into indexing by passing in "indexing=true".

We're excited about letting users easily find the wonderful mashups developers have created. As always, if you have any feedback for us, please use the Maps API Google Group.

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Hi, I'm John Clegg of ProjectX. We build a range of map applications such as journeyplanners and addressing tools in Wellington, New Zealand. We have been working on a library to add more functionality to Street View called Mapsicle.


Ever since the release of Google Street View in 2007, we have been thinking about how we could enhance it. It wasn't until Street View arrived in New Zealand in December 2008 that we finally decided to build a prototype called Mapsicle (Maps meets Popsicle).


The prototype showed how you could easily overlay content such as markers and InfoWindows onto Street View. We showed Mapsicle to a few people including the Google Maps API team who were excited about what it could do. We asked Google if we could submit Mapsicle into the Maps Util library to ensure that we accelerate the development of Street View as a maps application platform. After a couple of months of testing and bug fixing, we are happy to announce that Mapsicle v1.0 is now live.


What can Mapsicle do ?


Using Mapsicle library, you can do a lot of interesting things:


  • Create and show markers at various locations on Street View such as Disneyland Paris

  • Show markers that are outside of the field of view such as the NZ flag marker above.

  • Create InfoWindows at locations.


Getting Started


To try it out yourself, read through the developer's guide and reference, and check out the examples that show how to implement custom infowindows, markers, and map integration.


The world of possibilities


Now that Street View is being extended via the Street View partner program, Mapsicle could be used to create a whole range of maps applications…


  • Advanced Store locators: Create store locators that show exactly how to get to your store from the user's current location.
  • Interactive tours: Combine Street View with content to give tours of the streets of the world.
  • Digital signage: Create interactive advertising on Street View using video and images.
  • Interactive kiosk: Build a touch screen information kiosk for visitors.
  • Games: Build a treasure hunt application or a racing game to drive around Thunderhill raceway.

As one example of the possibilities, we created a fun little mashup called StreetTag.

Thanks to the team


Kudos to the entire team at ProjectX, in particular:

  • Stephen Davis, who created and named the Mapsicle prototype.
  • Cameron Prebble, who has been working on building lots of demos and the front end experience.
  • Thong Kuah, for managing the project and pushing us to open source.
  • Raja Bhadhury, who has been helping us test and refine Mapsicle over the last few months.

We've had a lot of fun building Mapsicle and we're really excited to see what cool things geo developers are going to do with it. We'd love your help to build out Mapsicle and add more features. You can contribute to the project by joining the Google Maps API Utility Library, and you can let us know how you're using the library by posting in the forum. Enjoy!

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We're really excited to announce two upcoming hackathons for our Google Geo APIs. The first will be held in New York City on November 20th followed by a second one in Mountain View on December 15th. This will be a great learning opportunity for any developer interested or currently involved in building Geo-enabled applications using our APIs. Come join us for a great session where you'll be able to hack away on your own projects alongside our engineers who'll be readily available to provide support. Below is a list of the various Google Geo APIs you'll learn about:

Registration for these events are completely free, and space is limited. Reserve your spot now using the following links below!

Bring your laptops, your brains, and we'll see you soon!