Google Maps Heads To The Arctic

Google Maps Trike in the ArcticGoogle’s never ending quest to map the Earth has taken them to numerous remote locations and their Street View technology has made it possible for us to explore much of the planet without ever leaving home. Not only have they shown us the wonders of Ancient Mexico, but they’ve also taken us inside national parks, up the Amazon River and to a number of other iconic locations around the globe. But their next project may be the most unique yet as the Google Maps team goes above the Arctic Circle to visit the tiny Canadian town of Cambridge Bay.

Located in Canada’s Nunavut Territory, Cambridge Bay is home to just 1500 people. The town sits on the southeast coast of Victoria Island, along the Queen Maud Gulf, and is an important port for ships traveling through the legendary Northwest Passage. Although this is a remote and lightly populated corner of planet, the region has been inhabited for more than 4000 years. The population still mainly consists of Inuit people and their culture remains evident throughout the area today. Most of the street names in Cambridge Bay, for example, are in the Inuit tongue.

In order to capture the town in all of its virtual glory, Google has sent one of their Street View trikes to map its streets. This high-tech, three-wheeled bike is equipped with cameras that take photos in all directions while rolling down the road. That data is then taken back to Google Maps HQ where it is stitched together to create a 360° panoramic view of whatever destination is being captured. That means in a short time we’ll all be able to take a stroll around Cambridge Bay within the confines of our favorite web browsers.

As travelers, how do you feel about Google Maps capturing these places and putting them in digital form online? Is it a helpful resource for you? Do you find it is intrusive or somehow detracts from a destination by taking some of the mystery out of it? Personally, I think it is kind of fun to see other parts of the world in this manner. It may even inspire someone to visit a place they hadn’t considered before.

Google Maps Inside Of Smithsonian Musueums

google maps smithsonianWe all know that Google Maps technology is invaluable for finding out how to get from point A to point B – or from point A to point D, with B and C in between. But what happens once you arrive at your destination?

Most maps stop being useful the minute you cross the threshold of a building, but, thanks to a new partnership with Google, the Smithsonian’s more than 2.7 million square feet of space are now mapped, both inside and out, using the search engine’s proprietary mapping technology.

The project encompasses 17 museums and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and allows visitors with Google Maps for Android to navigate building interiors floor by floor, as well as pinpoint themselves within the building.

You can search for exhibits, stairs, restrooms, food courts and more, as well as find step-by-step walking directions between, say, the Hope Diamond and Dorothy’s Red Slippers (which are located in two different museums).

“An increasing number of our visitors now turn to their mobile devices and familiar applications to help them find their way and get information about the Smithsonian,” said Nancy Proctor, head of mobile strategy and initiatives at the Smithsonian. “Indoor Google Maps helps us achieve our goal of putting the Smithsonian in their hands, both literally and figuratively.”

In addition to museums in D.C., the mapping technology also catalogs the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, and the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City.

The Smithsonian and Google will continue to increase the level of exhibit detail and the number of features in the maps in coming months. Indoor Maps is available on Google Maps for Android (Android 2.2 or above and Google Maps for Android 6.0 or above).

Want to learn more? Check out this great article about what happened when the Gadling team went inside the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History for a private tour!

Thanks to ArtDaily for the tip!

Using Google Maps To Launch A Zombie Invasion

Zombie, Zombies
It was only a matter of time.

The zombie craze has now infected Google Maps. A horde of living dead is coming to your street. A new app called Home Sweet Zombie from Confused.com allows you to type in the surname and address of someone you hate, then sit back and watch as zombies descend on their house. It’s a great way to get back at your former boss or the significant other who dumped you. If you’re filled with self-loathing you can even send them to your own house.

This app was designed by Jamie Gibbs, who writes about all things geeky on his blog. There, he reveals that he has more zombie stuff in the pipeline.

I tried it out on a few addresses in different countries and most worked. The only time the program came up blank was when I typed in Obama and the White House, proving once again the liberal bias among zombies. This also raises the question of whether they’re really as dead as they claim. I mean, has anyone actually seen their death certificates?

[Photo courtesy Confused.com]

Heat-Map Shows Travelers Most And Least Frequented Destinations

mapHave you ever wondered what countries are the most and least frequented by travelers? Estonian tech firm Bluemoon has taken data from the photo sharing service Panoramio and created a heat-map based on photos. The map details which countries are the most visited (in yellow), which have a medium amount of visitors (in red) and which are explored the least (in blue). A grey area signifies that no photos have been taken there using Panoramio.

As you can see from the map, Europe is a major tourist destination, as is much of the east and west coasts of the United States and Japan. Certain regions that seem to receive few visitors include Mongolia, India and Australia. Moreover, many areas in Canada and Africa remain unexplored.

They’ve also created a map of the “world’s most interesting remote places.” It only looks at destinations away from cities with remote tourist attractions. Some examples from the data show the Greek Islands are touristy (red), the Amazon Basin has almost no tourism (green) and Ladakh falls in the middle (yellow).

For a bigger view of the map, click here.

Zombie Survival Map

zombie survival“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth,” they say in the zombie movie classic “Dawn of the Dead.” Let’s hope they don’t have smartphones, or they might find you stocking up supplies or searching for the closest gun store. Map of the Dead is an interactive, Google-map based website designed for zombie survival. Just enter your location and you’ll get nearby resources like liquor (hey, you might as well have a drink) and hardware stores to help you survive the zombie apocalypse. The map also shows you danger zones marked in red, basically areas with large, man-made structures where more zombies are likely to congregate, so steer clear of airports.

Should the apocalypse be more of the mutant-and-killer-robot variety, this film has you covered for post-nuclear survival.