Google Map Mashups; NAVTEQ podcast interview

Google Maps is a great example of what can happen when you let users “under the hood” and let them decide for themselves how they want to make use of your information.

It was really interesting to read in The National Post about Canadian Mike Pegg and the popularity of his site, Google Maps Mania, which tracks the development of Google Maps “mashups.”

Google Maps Mania is a pretty fascinating list of sites where you’ll find just about everything from the useful to the “who has time to do this stuff” sorts of projects. One useful example that immediately caught my eye was a posting regarding, which tracks rare bird sightings from across Canada and the US (even a recent pushpin for Calgary!).

From a library perspective, you immediately wonder how libraries and map librarians must be wrestling with how to make the most of these services, and how this information and these sorts of interfaces/access points might be used to enhance our existing collections.

But even within a local setting, I’m sure there all sorts of library opportunities waiting to be exploited.

I’m working the reference desk on this fine Saturday afternoon, and I’ve had several directional “where is it?” questions related to some of our partner libraries and often our local public library branches. If only we had a Google map mashup to point them to the right location (and just for the record, a couple of the Access Hackfest guys came up with just that in a couple of hours of coding…I would happily link to it, but I don’t know where there work ended up!).

As an aside, I was listening to a podcast from O’Reilley’s Make on the bus on Friday. They had a fascinating interview with NAVTEQ’s Robert Denaro. Ever wonder where all that data comes from (and its all the same data, whether you are using A9’s mapping or Google)?

Do you ever think about how creepy it is that the driving directions can often be so accurate and crazily detailed? Well, one of the reasons os that they have a legion of drivers and GPS enabled cars putting on unbelievable mileage.

Old school driving meets new school technology. Anyway, a fascinating interview and worth donning a pair of headphones for a listen.

Obviously this was *not* posted on Saturday. A recent habit of mine is to start writing posts, save them as a draft, and never get back to them. I should at least learn to stop referencing days and dates…

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