Monday, July 18, 2005

Google maps 2 ....

I was complaining about the lack of a scale on Google maps, and one of my friends pointed me to a pedometer. It is pretty cool. A very useful feature to measure distances by clicking points on a map. Cool interface too. But, Google still needs to add a scale to their maps so that one can get an idea of the 'scale', for a lack of words, of the map. At least, we have APIs that we can use and enhance/add functionality.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Google maps

Today, I was using it to get directions to the DMV and it gave me the shortest distance to the destination. The shortest distance did not involve the fastest freeway. That got me thinking... Yes, Google maps is cool. But there is a lot of scope for improvement.

When it comes to directions, there are several factors that could be considered:
- Would I prefer to travel on freeways or highways?
- Can I use a carpool lane?
- If there is more than one route to the destination (of similar length), which would I prefer?
- What if one of the routes needs me to climb 2000ft. and I have an old jalopy?
- Would I prefer the scenic route or the shortest route?
- And so on and so forth...

When it comes to plain maps, what is with the missing scale? When does a map make sense without scale?

These options seem like a lot of questions to ask, but there are ways of efficiently implementing these options in a non-irritating way. Note that not all options apply to any one particular situation.

There could be other services like:
- Bookmarking favorite locations, and applying them while getting directions (touch points).
- Pictures of the destination.
- Satellite imagery of the destination/route. Oops, they already thought of this one.
- The current weather at the destination.

To implement the mentioned services, the server needs to contain all the information or be able to retrieve all the information in real time (like, lane restriction, weather pattern, geography, traffic patterns, etc.) . This wouldn't be a major challenge, but would make the tool more useful and customizable.