Map of the Week: Side-by-Side Router: Using Google’s API, Michael Schade - a contributor to Arlington, Virginia-based research-and-development startup Mobility Lab - has created the Side-By-Side Router, a tool that lets you compare driving, walking, biking, and transit options.

Why We Like It: Side-by-Side Router allows you to easily compare routes between two locations using the Google Maps API Directions Service. When you select a start and end location, it shows you all four travel modes that Google Directions provides, driving, walking, transit, and bicycling.

Each route is colored differently. Using Symbols to put arrows on the Polylines, it shows you the direction of travel. And to encourage you to be green, it uses Styled Maps to display a nice pale green background. It also uses simplified road geometry, and turns off neighborhoods and airports to declutter the map.

All in all, this is a nice use of the Google Maps API to present a complex set of data in an attractive and easily understood way.

Posted by Mano Marks, Maps Developer Relations Team

Congratulations, you’ve gotten through another week and made it to Fab Friday! I hope you’re as excited as I am :-). I’ve got a few videos, as I always do. But first, be sure to check out next week’s Google Maps Developers Live event next Wednesday with Chris Broadfoot talking about Photo Sphere and Street View.

This week, Brendan Kenny and Paul Saxman talked about High-performance Geospatial Visualizations using WebGL:

Last week, we released two videos on Google Santa Tracker, one for Android and one for Chrome:

Lastly, on February 5th, Paul Saxman will be in Toronto for the Samsung Developers Office Hours, where he’ll be talking about Mobile Mapping with the new Google Maps Android API v2. If you get a chance, go see him talk about this exciting new SDK.

Posted by Mano Marks, Maps Developer Relations Team


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Enterprise Blog)

Editor's note: Our guest blogger this week is from City 24/7, a non-traditional media company with a mission of providing “what you need to know, when and where it helps you most.” See how the company uses Google Places APIs as a way to give the public access to vital local information.

Imagine you are visiting New York City for the very first time. The lights, sounds and endless city blocks are all pretty amazing – yet a little confusing. That’s where City 24/7 comes in.

To give you an easy (and free) way of learning about your surroundings, we’re installing 250 Smart Screens in retrofitted telephone booths across NYC. City 24/7 Smart Screens are large, interactive touch screens that give you a range of information about local businesses and points of interest. And in the case of an emergency you can also access vital safety information, such as safety tips from the police department or updates from the mayor’s office.

We turned to the Google Places API to help us provide you with accurate, reliable information about events and places in any given neighborhood. The Places API includes location info from Google Maps, content from Google+ Local, Zagat-recommended establishments and (as of last week), Place Summaries - which include curated reviews and ratings.

Cities should be easy to live in and fun to visit. And with access to Google+ Local data, everyone can feel like a local, knowing all the best places to eat, shop, play and hang out. With the help of the Google Places API, we look forward to bringing our Smart Screens to bus shelters, train platforms, and major pedestrian streets in cities all around the world, as well as to launch our mobile application.

Map of the Week: Cycling the Alps (web) (Android) (Chrome Web Store)

Why we like it: Cycling the Alps has it all: Street View, Earth View, a website, an Android app, a Chrome App, terrain, satellite and street maps. Let’s start with the web.
Using the Google Maps API V3, Cycling the Alps gives you a great view of the Alps and the passes you can use to cycle through it.
Click on a route, and you’re presented with a number of options:

Including different ways to explore it in Street Tour, 3D Tour, and elevation Profile.
If you select a Street Tour, it will present a series of Street View images along the route. You can select either direction that’s available.
The 3D Tour mode uses the Earth API to show you the route, as does Explore in 3D. In the Android app, it launches Google Earth with an intent that includes the KML tour:
The app also uses the new Google Maps Android API V2, giving it easy access to the most modern Google Maps, including the street maps, satellite imagery, and terrain:
There’s so much more to mention, and we can’t cover it all, but we can mention one last feature: the Profile view which uses the Elevation Service of the Maps API to show an elevation profile of the route:
In short, Cycling the Alps is a great way to see many of the possible uses of the Google Maps API in all its different forms.

Posted by Mano Marks, Maps Developer Relations Team

Author PhotoHi and welcome to the first Fab Friday of the new year! I had a wonderful vacation and now I’m raring to go!

First up, we have a couple of recent Google Maps Garage videos. Last week, Brendan Kenny and Paul Saxman did Mapmaking Excellence with Chrome DevTools where they shared their techniques for using the DevTools to save time and sanity.

And this week, Paul and I did Pushing the Pin Beyond the Limit where we discussed various Google Maps API Utility Libraries for managing and extending Markers.

Finally, a note that Brendan Kenny and I will be presenting Mapping Hidden Stories at Strata in February, and if you’re attending, we hope to see you there. And of course, we'll provide an overview of what we present during one of the subsequent installments of Google Maps Garage.


Cross-post to the Official Enterprise Blog, where we've announced a new enterprise feature

Starting today, the Google Places API will feature Place Summaries, reliable reviews about points of interest. This allows your application to embed useful review information. For example, car manufacturers can use the API to provide drivers with detailed reviews of local establishments directly in their in-car system.

Place Summaries are curated expert reviews and ratings, based on user feedback, that provide information about a location’s key attributes such as decor, quality and service. The API also shows Zagat-recommended establishments. So whether your customer is looking for a local Chinese restaurant or a national park, the Google Places API help them make a quick, informed decision about where to go and what to do.

We’re continually improving the Google Places API to deliver accurate and comprehensive information about local businesses across the globe. For more information about the Google Places API, contact our sales team.