15 Aug Google Maps Magic!!!
Updated 27 May 2015:
Unfortunately, Google has removed the Wikipedia, photo, and video layers since the original blog post was written. Google has, however, kept the traffic layer, and also added an additional bicycle layer in order to see biking trails.
So you already know you can leave reviews, get directions, and find out more information about businesses on Google Places. But I bet there are a few features you didn’t know about:
Wikipedia on Google Maps:
At first I wasn’t sure that Wikipedia made sense as a layer for Google Places, why would I need to know which article related to which area of the country? But then I quickly realized that in just a few minutes of browsing I’d found at least three or four things I’d like to see in my home state that I never knew existed. It would also be helpful for planning vacations, or finding tourist attractions while on vacation (find landmarks and attractions within five miles of your hotel). Not sure what to do on your third day in France? Google has some suggestions.
The articles provide information on topics ranging from Ships in the North Atlantic, to the Statue of Liberty, to Natural Landmarks like Niagra Falls, and more.
Photos on Google Maps:
You can also view photos from Panaramio that are geographically relevant. This is a great way to find out where you’d like to go on vacation, or a great way for you students out there to find pictures of locations you’re writing papers on. In addition to the useful applications, it’s just plain fun to explore the world through photos. So for those of you that can’t afford the trip you’d use wikipedia on, have yourself a fifteen minute work break and take a picture vacation instead!
Video on Google Places:
Photos of the world just too “20th century” for you? Fear not! Google Maps also has a layer that allows you to see the cinematic wonders of Youtube brought to life around the world. With films ranging in topic from “Trebuchet Printer Toss” to “What would I do for $10” to “Disney Expedition Everest”. Whether you’re flinging printers through the air, hanging with friends, or riding roller coasters, Youtube for Google maps is a fun way to share your videos with the world and represent your area.
Traffic on Google places:
By far one of the most useful layers for Maps, available for both desktop and mobile versions of Google Maps, the traffic layer! This layer allows you to see where traffic may be congested, where there’s construction, and alternate roads that might help you avoid these time wasters. Perfect for checking before you head home from work or while you’re driving (at a stoplight of course).
In addition to the traffic layer, you can turn on the webcam layer which will provide live traffic feeds of several highways and freeways. This is particularly useful if you’ve already looked at the traffic layer and know there’s construction on the way home and want to check out how bad the freeway is compared to the back roads.
So whether you’re planning a vacation, exploring your backyard, recording your adventures, or avoiding construction, Google Places has you covered!