A new StreetView-like service for Central Europe

NorcAs reported by Google Maps Mania, Norc has just launched a StreetView-like service for a handful of countries in Europe.  They use the Google Maps API to power their product, then drop in a bunch of interactive panoramic images.  You can’t move up up down streets quite as easily, but they provide small arrows in the corner to direct you to nearby paroramas, which are often just a few feet away (like StreetView).

Their current coverage includes Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Romania.

StreetView now included in the Google Maps API

Google has just announced that they have added StreetView to the Google Maps API!  It sounds like there are some neat things that can be done with it, and I’m anxious to give it a try.

The post at the Google Maps API Blog has much more information — go check it out.  If you make a cool mash-up using the new tools, feel free to share it in the comments section of this post.

New version of Google Earth Enterprise

As reported on the Google LatLong blog, a new version of Google Earth Enterprise has been released.

Some of the enhancements include:

  • Browser integration with the Google Maps API AJAX architecture, allowing 2D map views to be embedded in any web-based application, so everyone in an organization benefits from the power of Google Earth Enterprise.
  • Performance enhancements amounting to as much as a 10x speedup for vector data processing and better than 2x reduction in server computation for responding to imagery requests.
  • New search framework for integrating geocoding and other search services via Java plug-ins including a Google Search Appliance reference implementation.
  • Regionator for creating Super-Overlays with Regions based KML and publishing them for viewing in any Google Earth client version (Free, Plus or Pro).
  • Security improvements and extended Operating System support including Red Hat Enterprise Server 4 and SUSE Linux 9 and 10.

They’ve also streamlined the interface and made a handful of other improvements.  Full details on the LatLong blog.

A few new tips on using the Virtual Earth API

A couple new API tips were posted today on some Virtual Earth related blogs.

First, the Virtual Earth / Live Maps Blog explains how to display their slick new hill shaded tiles using the VE API.  I’ve already mentioned how good looking I thought these tiles are, so it’s nice to see an easy way to use them in the API.

The other is an article from Via Virtual Earth about how to customize your own mini-map inside of the VE API.  While it’s not possible to really customize the default mini-map, the article explains how to create your own mini-map and customize it any way you want.  It’s a bit cumbersome, but the article explains it in a very detailed step-by-step manner.  Well worth the read if you’re developing any applications using VE.

Some confusion about the new AdSense feature using the Google Maps API

As I mentioned yesterday, you’ll soon be able to monetize Google Maps using built-in support for AdSense.  It’s quite slick.  However, I’ve noticed a number of blogs talking about an article about this on InfoWorld today, all of whom have a couple of key facts wrong.

First, InfoWorld says that mapplets can be monetized using this new AdSense for Maps API feature.  This is not true.  The AdSense for API coming out this month will only work on Maps mashups that you are hosting on your own sitenot for mapplets.  After the Google Developer Day, I asked a few Google employees about AdSense on mapplets and I was told that they are considering adding it at some point in the future, but not anytime soon.

The problem is that mapplets incorporate a lot of different datasets into one.  Who gets the revenue from the ads if six different sites are contributing data?  There are some issues like that for them to work out.  For the normal Maps API it’s much simpler – it’s your site, so do whatever you want with the ads.  It makes sense.

The other confusing point in the InfoWorld article talks about how those ads are displayed.  They say “When the icon is passed over, information appears in the pop-up window“.   Passed over?  No, the word they were looking for is “clicked”.

The AdSense icons will be very similar to normal icons in Google Maps, at least in behavior.  If you click on the icon the info bubble pops-up.  If you click the ad in the info bubble, the site gets paid.   There’s no “passing over” that is involved here.

I hope that helps clear this up.

Some other tidbits about Google Maps from last week.

Mike Pegg at Google Maps Mania just posted a short summary of new features in the Google Maps API that were revealed at the Google Developer Day last week.  There are a number of items in there, but the main one I missed was the ability to add live traffic data to your API map.  It’s very simple to do, so kudos to Google for that.

It’s worth reading the full article on his site when you get a chance.