Friday, January 13, 2006

Google's Earth


Fanatics of Google Earth and Google Maps have created a new terminology that just might become part of the electronic cartographic vernacular. “Mashup’s” are electronic Google Maps overlaid with icons. They symbolize, well, whatever it is that one is interested in. For example, those with a lot of time on their hands might want to mashup where all the clock makers of Switzerland are located. One might also want to know where all the Wineries of New Mexico are for a tour of the region. The resulting mashup would contain a digital map with arrows detailing the address, phone number and an easy directory of directions. In short, mashups are a customized mapping tool based on curiosity.

I tried pouring over Google’s mapping system to find the location of all the trails in Durango, Colorado. Unfortunately, trails do not carry registered addresses. I’m also not very knowledgeable with GPS systems. It was to my dismay that I could not mashup the location of my favorite mountain biking places. However, my friends at yourmtb.com, a new site dedicated to mountain biking enthusiasts, have come up with a plan to create a mashup for some trails. Although I lack the technical expertise, I was able to use Google Earth successfully.

If you haven’t downloaded Google Earth, you can, easily. It is a free download from Google. You’ll need to go to their website to find out how (www.google.com). It took only a few minutes to upload the software. Once I opened the system, I typed in my zip code and shazaam. My hometown was available for me to fly over with the touch of my cursor. I decided to venture over to the Horse Gulch trail system in Durango, Colorado. It was an easy find (see picture to the left). I traversed some of my favorite loops and also located the “secret trail”.

This technology is up and coming! Soon it won’t be Google Maps you are searching over, it will be a blog dedicated to your interest. Think I’m wrong? According to an NPR report, over 1000 mashup users have created useable maps already. As the system grows so will the mashup’s; in the future a mashup blog will provide you with more information than anything you can do yourself. It goes without saying that free technology is a good thing, only when people know how to use it. As for me, I’m hopeful yourmtb.com has a system up and running soon…

2 comments:

evan said...

let's hope our peeps at yourmtb.com get on this, it looks cool as all get out!

walkert said...

Yes! The conversation is going strong. Hopefully, it will be something released soon...