5 Online tools for getting more out of maps

Maps, video and geotagging are all coming together at Seero, a new video mapping site that aggregates citizen journalist-created video on a Google Map. Users can submit their geotagged video for archiving or broadcast it live. Casual visitors can browse video from all over the world, including footage of the Wailuku River in Hawaii and the Taj Mahal in India. The site is a little sparse right now, but shows great promise.

GPSed is also making use of geotagging by facilitating a place where users can upload photos onto a Google Map that corresponds to the exact location it was taken. A series of photos creates a mapped chronological line of the course of travel that others can later follow. Use of the site requires a GPS-equipped mobile device such as a Blackberry or Windows Mobile smartphone.


If you haven’t had enough of geotagging, MetaCarta takes stories from news sources like Reuters and the Associated Press and plots them on an interactive Google Map. Clicking a link in the map markers directs users to a full version of the story with a small inset map of locations mentioned in the story. MetaCarta also suggests stories within the same region or of similar interest. Stories can be searched for by moving the map around or entering a specific location or keyword.

Geotagging stories is a growing trend in journalism, though honestly I have yet to completely wrap my head around the process. Click here for a primer on geotagging and be sure to read this thought-provoking editorial by Martin Stabe that questions the ethics of the process.

Away from the visuals and onto the audio. MyVox’s API makes it less complicated for developers to integrate user-generated audio onto a map. Its Voice Map application lets users create a map and then provides a call-in number to add voice recordings to each marker(click here for a demonstration).

Lastly, the Static Map Wizard allows for creation of a Google Map without the need for messy JavaScript. Customizing the map only takes a few steps and the result is a map that can be embedded into any web site with just an URL and an <img> tag. A Google Map API key is required to embed the map and be obtained here.

This post is the third in a five-part series on maps. Previously: Exploring the Earth, Tracking down criminals with crime maps