Google Maps API Version 2.0

Extra extra! Read all about it.

What’s nice:

  • No more page view limits
  • Some memory leak fixes
  • A promise on warning before an ads launch, and promise to not have ads in the near future (though you can bet its coming)

I am a little disappointed (but not surprised) that they don’t have an answer to Yahoo’s geocoding features in their latest release. Maybe we’ll see them as part of some commercial package in the future.

Us and Them

The main goal of our batch geocoding service is not just to provide map coordinates, but also give a quick platform for those wishing to instantly plot map data on the web without any coding. There are several other sites out there that try to do the same. Wayfaring, MapBuilder, Platial, and so on.

I don’t work in a vacuum, I keep an eye on the competition. I really like the interfaces out there. To a certain extent, they all provide unique features that my service does not. My goal with the batch geocoder was to focus on making a tool that is fast, easy, and lets people work with data they already have.

Sitting down and creating a map by hand using one of these other tools takes quite some time. You must add locations one by one on a map. My service dumps the user name and password concept and lets people create and save maps instantly with no barriers.

Can you edit points one by one and move them around by clicking on a map? No you can’t do that. But I question how many people will create useful maps by creating points one by one. There’s only so many jogging maps, or bike ride maps, or maps to grandma’s house before you begin to question the value. Remember its all about the data… and for data to be useful you need lots of it. That’s why standardizing on formats like tab delimited is a good idea.

The user can keep their data in a file or in a database on their system, instead of on a server somewhere. They can easily edit their data, add/remove columns, etc.. No fussing about with some proprietary interface for editing it online.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. If you have feedback please let me know. I am not opposed to the idea of building in some of the tools that the “other guys” offer, but I could spend time in other areas too.

Yahoo set to launch international maps?

Yahoo needs international mapping to be a serious competitor to Google Maps in the long run, and recently there have been a few things that hint that international support may be coming.

First, an interesting post by Yahoo Employee Alan Brown, who points out that last year Yahoo acquired a company that provides geocoding on an international level.

Second, more recently, someone noticed that the Yahoo geocoding API is sporadically returning a number for the precision. The number appears to be the most appropriate zoom level for the geocoded point. This could be looked at as a way to make the interface more generic for international support.

Whatever all this means, my guess is just to stay competitive Yahoo will be going international soon. The question is will they be taking all their nifty geocoding features that make a service like ours possible. To stand above the rest, I’d say its probably a good idea.