Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Google Maps Hacking 101

For all of you who have not yet used Google Maps, I would recommend that you head on over and play with it for a few minutes. Try typing your address into the search box at the top, or try one of these example searches:

If you played with those maps at all, did you notice that you can click the left mouse button, and while holding it down, move the mouse around to "drag" the map in different directions? Try it! Did you see the control on the left side that has a '+' at the top and a '-' at the bottom, with a graduated line connecting the two? Did you click on the '+' to zoom in or the '-' to zoom out? Did you click on the slider between the '+' and the '-' and use it like a scrollbar to change the zoom level more than one step at a time? Try it!

Now, can you say "wicked cool!"?

But even cooler than all of this, from a coder's perspective, is that Google has published the API (that is Application Programming Interface to all the non-coders in the audience; think of it as the blueprints to the system) to Google Maps, so you can extend and customise it to your little heart's content! And customise it I have done!

I now present to you, without further ado (it just seems wrong to omit that cliché, n'est ce pas?), my Gaijin's Guide to Central Yokohama. The map should provide the curious with some spatial orientation that might make the geography of some of my blog entries more understandable. The map loads centred on our apartment, with various markers illustrating train stations, banks, shopping locations, Lyani's school, etc. If you zoom out five times, you can see where I will be working: it is the dark green marker to the northeast of the cluster of markers in Central Yokohama.

This map is by no means complete, so check back from time to time to see what new entries I have added. I will also try to link geographical locations in future blog entries to the map, to give you some additional context.

1 comment:

chall said...

You are really making this far to easy to come and visit you.

That's some very cool stuff.