Top ten map innovations (non-Google)
by Wendy Boswell
1. Real time earthquake map
Not the most comforting of mapping utilities out there, but certainly one of the more intriguing. Watch earthquakes plotted in real time with the USGS Earthquake Map - it's quite hypnotizing to see little tremors (and some big shakes) rock and roll their way all around the world.
Atlas is built on MSN's Virtual Earth platform. You can do some basic geography exploring, but you can also use Atlas to see if anyone's blogging near you, view local movie showtimes, check gas prices, and a few more nifty little tricks. Slow to load (for me), but worth the wait.
3. SIMILE Timeline
The SIMILE Timeline is a visual map of timely events. They've got a few examples to show you; my favorite is the Dinosaurs time map that is frankly utterly fascinating. You can make your own time map with SIMILE's simple directions, and check out Gina's previously-posted Roll your own timeline article about SIMILE.
Gutenkarte is a geographical literature map. For instance, say you want to see exactly all the places covered in the classic Around the World in 80 Days. You can view the book in full chapter by chapter AND view every mapped location in the Jules Verne classic. The interface could be a lot more intuitive; but it's a great way to get more out of literature.
MappedUp is a mapped visualization of global news events, tracked via multiple RSS feeds. If you're looking for up to the millisecond news updates, MappedUp probably won't be able to deliver; however, if you're looking for a visually pleasing way to view world news, then MappedUp should meet your needs.
Loki "pinpoints your exact physical location and then uses that location to make the web revolve around you, wherever you are." For example, if you're lost in downtown Portland because you took a left at the Chinese gardens and somehow ended up in the OHSU parking lot and are late for your cousin's wedding shower, Loki would be able to pinpoint your geo-location by instantly sending you a map via your mobile.
AuctionMapper is a completely unique way to view eBay listings. There are quite a few search options available to you: you can search by price, location, days left to bid, shipping costs, etc.; but the AuctionMapper feature I like best is the drag and drop. Simply find the category you're looking for and drag and drop it on the map; AuctionMapper quickly collates the geographical data for each item, potentially saving you a whole lot of costly shipping fees.
8. YES Map
YES is a map of American radio stations and the songs they are playing in real-time. Now you'll be able to tell just how many stations are really playing "White and Nerdy" (and possibly petition for more?).
9. Flickr Map
The Flickr Map has to be one of my favorites on this list of favorites. It's truly amazing how many people use Flickr all over the world, and this map has to be one of the most addicting on the list, especially if you choose to view it by "most interesting" (and yes, now I've just shot your productivity out the window).
Locale bills itself as a "random day out generator." It's a fun mashup of Flickr, MSN Virtual Earth, and various other programming goodies. For instance, say you've always had a hankering to visit Cannon Beach, Oregon: just check off the attractions you might be interested in, anything from Art Gallery to Music, and click "go". Locale retrieves all the local stuff you're interested in; plus, it grabs relevant photos from Flickr and maps your search results care of MSN. Pretty slick.