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Google’s ‘Geographic Web’ and conflicting interfaces

Published in GeoRSS, Google, Neogeography


Brady points out on O’Reilly Radar some of the new layers in GoogleEarth. Most interesting though is his recap of feedback from Flickr’s Dan Catt on why Google isn’t currently displaying Flickr photos (despite perhaps the obvious that (Flickr! < Yahoo!) != Google).

His claim is that they take their bounding box parameters in different order: bbox=x1,y1,x2,y2. vs. box=x1,y1,x2,y2. However, based on my research of the API's, they look comparable. For example, Google Earth's view based refresh will do a bounding box request:

longitude_west, latitude_south, longitude_east, latitude_north

and the Flickr photo search expects the following BBox:

minimum_longitude, minimum_latitude, maximum_longitude, maximum_latitude

You can see that minimum_longitude is the same parameter as longitude_west, and so on. So I’m not sure why Dan Catt uses that as his explanation that the parameters don’t line up.

However, as Brady points out, what would really help everyone is if the services all spoke common languages, like Flickr outputting KML, or GoogleEarth consuming GeoRSS (since Flickr can output GeoRSS). My money would be on the latter, since there seems less impetus for a company like Flickr/Yahoo to export their data in a proprietary format.

Of course, the translation between the two formats, especially for basic geometry such as points, is trivial, so implementing both on both sides, or simple conversion utilities in the middle, would be straight-forward.

Extra Credit

For extra credit, implement said conversion utility to convert KML <=> GeoRSS using XSLT, or other language of your choice.

There are also various other Flickr/GoogleEarth utilities out there like displaying grids of the # of Flickr images in GoogleEarth.

Pleasant Surprise

While researching parts of this post, I found a new Flickr API method that I didn’t know existed before:

flickr.photos.getWithGeoData – “Returns a list of your geo-tagged photos.” However, you can’t do a search within this set other than by date. But at least now you can pull up a trail of your travels based on your photos.

“Where were you on the night of the 13th?!”

In the past, when using my Feed URL to get geotagged photos, I just made sure that photos had a tag “geotagged” and then grabbed all the photos with that tag.


How to Compare Maps

Published in Google, Maps


ocarta map comparisonIn my last post I referred to an article that compares various online mapping servers.

Now you can see the effect for your self. ocarto allows you to overlay 7 layers of maps from Google, Yahoo, MS Virtual Earth, and Terraserver.

Search for: 44.300572,-78.339096 in ocarto, and zoom in all the way. It’s the town of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

You can search for the nearby town of Royal Oak, MI to see a lot of new development, roads that don’t exist on many maps, existing on Google. (I’ll send them a cookie)


Google Hosting

Published in Google, Open-Source


Google HostingGoogle trumps Sourceforge by releasing Google Hosting.

It’s Open-Source project hosting, with what seems like very advanced issue tracking. Fast, easy to understand, simple.

There are already some projects up, like Rails App Installer and Biometric API for Linux.

I assume all/many of the Google Summer of Code projects will end up hosted here. Also, I could see Google providing something like a Krugle source-code search for finding specific files and code snippets. Then why not go ahead and toss in a Code Snippets where anyone could highlight/mark source code as useful, and pulled out for others to then see these snippets easily.

Google Hosting FAQ


GoogleMaps update?

Published in Google, Maps, Technology


Did I miss the news somewhere that GoogleMaps got a big UI update?

The largest noticeable difference is that when you “zoom” it’s first just increases the resolution size of the current layer of tiles, and then replaces them with the actual higher-resolution (new) tiles as they come back from the server. The effect is a kind of disjointed ‘popping’. I like the idea that the zooming is better, but I don’t think they should zoom the text – which makes the popping more apparent.

There are other little flavorings are Web2.0-boxing of the ‘Search the map | Find businesses | Get directions’ tabs.

Ahh, I see there was a GoogleMaps Blog post titled, appropriately “Zoooooooom!”.


Google Checkout – check it out

Published in Google, Programming


So Google Checkout (not GBuy, or g’bye) has hit the streets. You can go and see the Google Checkout Developer API to intergrate it into your own web-applications.

Interesting note, this is one of the first Google service in awhile that wasn’t rolled out as “Beta”. I guess it’s one thing for users to understand that their email/calendar/maps may be wrong. But don’t be messin’ with my money!

WebMonkey Review