Nike Mashes Up Running Site

NEW YORK Nike is hoping to tap the collective running route wisdom of the masses in a new Google Maps application.

Through interactive agency AKQA, Nike has launched RouteFinder, a feature on its Run London Web Site (www.runlondon.com), which lets users plot jogging routes through a Google Maps mash-up. Visitors can view others’ running routes, and search by distance, terrain, location, popularity and other variables.

RouteFinder builds on a store-finder application AKQA built for the site using Google Maps.

Since its release last June, the Google Maps API has spawned dozens of mash-ups, or Web applications that combine multiple sources of content. Nearly all Google Maps mash-ups have been built by Internet users with minimal programming experience. Some of the dozens created include ChicagoCrime.org, which uses police data, and others that plot everything from free WiFi locations to registered sex offenders.

The Nike site is the latest to use the Google Maps application programming interface, which lets users create new mapping tools by combining a data source. HBO is supporting the return of The Sopranos with a Google Maps tool on HBO.com that combines show video and background to a Google Map of New Jersey and the surrounding area. New York independent shop Deep Focus created the Sopranos map.

Simon Jefferson, account director at AKQA London, said the mapping application is a good example of a brand using technology to tap into the natural community its consumers form.

“RouteFinder enables runners to do what they already do in the real world, but better and more effectively,” he said via e-mail. “Runners drive their car around a route to measure the distance of their run and they talk about and share their running routes with other runners.”