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It’s Friday again, and on Maps DevRel we’re feeling good. Geo for Good in fact! Today marks the last day of the Geo for Good User Summit hosted by the Google Earth Outreach team. Paul Saxman and I gave a couple of talks there. Frankly, I’m humbled by the quality of projects that were demonstrated there and by the dedication of the participants. If you want to find out more about what happened at the summit and some of the projects that came out of it, join Raleigh Seamster and I for the next Maps Developer Live event on Tuesday at 10am.

Speaking of Maps Developer Live events, on Wednesday Luke Mahe and Justin Chu talked about the current and future state of the Google Places API. Here’s the video

And lastly, over on the Google Data Arts Team, there’s a cool new Chrome Experiment, Cloud Globe that uses WebGL to animate two years of weather patterns over the surface of the Earth. The 3D globe is rendered entirely in the browser. It’s a cool demonstration of what modern browsers can accomplish.

Posted by Mano Marks, Maps Developer Relations Team

Since we launched the Place Autocomplete feature of the Google Places API, we’ve been excited to see a number of developers use it to make entering addresses into HTML forms quick and easy for users. Today, we aim to delight developers and their users even more by releasing Query Autocomplete, which includes popular queries alongside place and address predictions, and Javascript Autocomplete Data Services, which allows you to style and mix in your own predictions while using the Google Maps JavaScript API.

Query Autocomplete

Google Places Query Autocomplete is a new feature available as part of both the Google Places API and the Google Maps JS API Places Library. This feature has the same type-ahead-search behavior of the original Place Autocomplete, but just like the Google Maps search field, it returns places, addresses, and popular queries, such as “italian restaurants” or “swimming pool.”

Autocomplete Data Services

In the Places Library of the Google Maps JS API, we first offered Place Autocomplete as a drop-down widget that’s bound to an input element. We wanted to give developers more flexibility, so both Place Autocomplete and Query Autocomplete now have data services that return predictions in a JSON collection. With this collection, you have complete control over your text inputting and autocomplete experience while using the Google Maps JS API.

This control allows for mixing in your own predictions, such as the user’s home location or her favorite restaurant, or styling predictions to better match your application. In the demo below, we used the data service to give our predictions some rotating Google-themed colors.

Our Autocomplete services do not need to be used in conjunction with a map, but it does require a “powered by Google” logo to appear under the text field if a map isn’t shown.

The Google Places API autocomplete services are here as part of our goal to make location-based textual input an effortless experience. Give them a try and let us know what you think!

Posted by Paul Saxman, Google Maps Developer Advocate

P.S. Submissions for the Places API Developer Challenge are now open. Build an app to help your community and for a chance to win tickets for Google I/O!

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Map of the Week: Springsteen in the USA
Why we like it: This is a fun map put together by the The Timoney Group, showing forty years of Bruce Springsteen concerts in the US using our new Heatmap Layer.

As you play the animation, it adds concerts year by year, and displays the tour name below the map. It shows an inset map of the Northeast United States, where he apparently spent most of his time touring, and alongside that it displays the album cover from the tour.

We like they put a scrolling list of concerts at the bottom of the map, and how the heatmap appears to animate as each concert is added. This is a simple, yet engaging site that demonstrates the power of using heatmaps for data visualization.

Posted by Mano Marks, Maps Developer Relations

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Happy Friday everyone!

Once again, we have a fabulous video to share from Google Developers Live. On Tuesday, Pete Giencke and Ka-Ping Yee from the Google Crisis Response Team stopped by to talk to  Paul Saxman about how they implement crisis maps using the Google Maps API. Check out the video here:

You may have heard that NASA began flying the Space Shuttle Endeavor across the country on September 19th. By now it should have landed at LAX. If you want more info on it’s flight, here’s a handy YouTube video of a Google Earth Tour highlighting points along the route. I may have helped out in a small way :-).

Next week’s Maps Developers Live will be Wednesday, September 26th at 4pm Sydney time.
The Google Places API, Present and Future
Luke Mahe talks with the Justin Chu, the Google Places API product lead, about two new features of the API.  Tune in to hear about these features from their source, and get a glimpse into where the API is headed.

Posted by Mano Marks, Maps Developer Relations Team

Map of the Week: MOCA: Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974
Why we like it: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) "Ends of the Earth” site a great example of using Google Maps as a conduit for connecting art with the real world. This map gives the viewer real world context for the artwork. We also like seeing a user interface that uses a full screen map and is designed to work as one with the map.

MOCA: Ends of the Earth was created as an at-home interactive experience for museum guests and the newest collection at the MOCA. The goal is to give users meaningful context using Google Map’s repository of global Satellite and Street View imagery. As described by MOCA, “Developed by MOCA for End of the Earth: Land Art to 1974, this interactive feature maps key artworks included in the exhibition, pinpointing their original locations to demonstrate the global nature of land art and its relations to real places and times.”

Aside from being a great way to learn about a piece of art that interests you, the site’s user interface creates a very pleasant experience for the user. You can also download a KML file and view the collection in Google Earth.

Perhaps one of the most nostalgic pieces of artwork in the collection is Charles and Ray Eames’ film Powers of Ten. Using this site you can visit the location where some of the film takes places and in an interactive ode to the film, you can recreate Powers of Ten anywhere you want by zooming in and out of Google Maps directly on the site.

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Welcome to another edition of the Fab Friday Post. Today we have a quick update on our Google Developers Live events. Our latest video is up, Experiments in Big Data Visualization. Brendan Kenny and I took a look at using the CanvasLayer Utility Library [link] to visualize shapefiles and KML in the browser. We talked about some of the challenges of using binary XmlHTTPRequests and trying to do polygon triangulation in JavaScript. Take a look:

In particular, we talked about two open source JavaScript libraries we used:

JSTS, a JavaScript port of the Java Topology Suite


shp.js for parsing .shp files.

It’s a fun experiment and we hope to launch it soon.

Coming up next Tuesday, we have Pete Giencke and Ka-Ping Lee discussing how they build Google Crisis Response maps like the one used for Hurricane Isaac. Should be a really interesting session.

Posted by Mano Marks, Maps Developer Relations Team

Map of the Week: Vote Night
Why we like it: Vote Night shows current projected outcomes for the 2012 US Presidential Election, on a state-by-state basis. The site allows you to make predictions about the outcome of the election by changing the projected results in a given state to see how that would alter the outcome. You can also view historic elections going back to 1932.

The site uses Styled Maps to mute the map background, providing the context of the map but highlighting its own data. The individual states and the District of Columbia are rendered as clickable Polygons, allowing you to change their color (red for Republican, blue for Democrat, gray for undecided). This makes for an easy interface to interact with the map to change the data. There’s also a drop down list you can select from.

You can embed your prediction into your blog or website, or share it via social media.

The site also restricts the zoom levels you can view on the map, so that you don’t get too far away or too close and lose track of what they are looking at. All around a great user experience packed into a deceptively simple package.