Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Google Maps

This isn’t exactly hot off the presses, but Google has launched Google Maps, which seems pretty nifty, so far. There are a few things I can think of that could use improvement, but it is just a beta, after all.

Improvements I’d like to see:

  • When listing several locations, it would be nice if you could snap to just one particular one, and elminate the others.
  • When doing a “local search”, it will change your zoom level, even when you are searching “the map area below”. That’s not doing what I asked, because you’re changing the map area.
  • The “link this page” link doesn’t always save the current state of the map if you’ve been tinkering (center location, zoom level).
  • It would be nice to have an easy way to access the latitude and longnitude for points on the map (though I understand that this isn’t of interest to everyone).

On the other hand, the interactive “grab and drag” nature of the maps is great, and the directions with detailed turns are awesome!

Has anybody else spotted any other areas of improvement? Other than obvious ones, like personal settings, that they’re sure to add at some point.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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12 Responses to Google Maps

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  3. FlashBang says:

    I really love MSN Maps (mapblast)’s LineDrive feature. Try it out. It presents a birdseye view of your entire trip, so you can take a look at one graphic, and not even have to read directions.

    Very nifty, and quite a missed feature by the media, IMHO.

  4. Matt says:

    This has been totally blowing me away.

  5. It would be nice if there was a “Print” button that re-organized the map and all the little pop-up maps into a manifest similar to mapquest… One little map for each direction, the description, and then a couple large area maps.

  6. dougal says:

    FlashBang: Hmm… The condensed “LineDrive” map is interesting. It’s probably not as useful for general use, but for finding locations in areas that you’re already somewhat familiar with, it could be very nice, since it eliminates some of the “cruft” from the map.

    Pete: Good call. A “pretty print” option will definitely be a good addition.

  7. There’s been a lot of hoopla surrounding the beta launch of Google Maps, but don’t discount some other web based maps, like http://www.us.map24.com which offers an extremely fluid Java based interface and map.search.ch, a highly accurate detailed road + satellite map of Switzerland, both of which have certain advantages over Google Maps. There’s no doubt Google will step up to the plate, but for the moment they should be looking at both of these innovative web maps for an even more fluid and informative user experience.

    http://www.futurefeeder.com
    I think Google’s implementation of satellite imagery could be expected, since the current image retrieval system is pretty much set up to access satellite image databases.

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  9. I still haven’t been able to see what all the hoopla over Google Maps is all about; I posted about it on my blog – http://www.steelerdirtfreak.com/blog/archives/2005/02/11/google-map-wish-i-could-see-what-all-the-hoopla-is-about/

    I’ve tried – twice – deactivating every Firefox extension, and still get nothing but the dreaded blank screen.

    If you’ve seen any fixes for this problem, I’d certainly be grateful to hear of them.

  10. Chris says:

    I have found the fix for blank Google maps in Firefox (courtesy of Slashdot):

    Check your JavaScript advanced options in the Preferences. You’ll need “Change Images” and “Disable Or Replace Context Menus” checked.

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  12. Jake says:

    Thank you Chris for the blank map fix! Works like a charm.

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