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Google Maps Hacks

Google Maps Hacks [Kindle Edition]

Rich Gibson , Schuyler Erle
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Want to find every pizza place within a 15-mile radius? Where the dog parks are in a new town? The most central meeting place for your class, club or group of friends? The cheapest gas stations on a day-to-day basis? The location of convicted sex offenders in an area to which you may be considering moving? The applications, serendipitous and serious, seem to be infinite, as developers find ever more creative ways to add to and customize the satellite images and underlying API of Google Maps.

Written by Schuyler Erle and Rich Gibson, authors of the popular Mapping Hacks, Google Maps Hacks shares dozens of tricks for combining the capabilities of Google Maps with your own datasets. Such diverse information as apartment listings, crime reporting or flight routes can be integrated with Google's satellite imagery in creative ways, to yield new and useful applications.

The authors begin with a complete introduction to the "standard" features of Google Maps. The adventure continues with 60 useful and interesting mapping projects that demonstrate ways developers have added their own features to the maps. After that's given you ideas of your own, you learn to apply the techniques and tools to add your own data to customize and manipulate Google Maps. Even Google seems to be tacitly blessing what might be seen as unauthorized use, but maybe they just know a good thing when they see one.

With the tricks and techniques you'll learn from Google Maps Hacks, you'll be able to adapt Google's satellite map feature to create interactive maps for personal and commercial applications for businesses ranging from real estate to package delivery to home services, transportation and more. Includes a foreword by Google Maps tech leads, Jens and Lars Rasmussen.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 28746 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (13 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KZ1X092
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For command line jockeys everywhere 1 Aug 2007
Early in the book the author describes himself as a "command line jockey", without apparent irony, and I knew at that stage that this book was not for me. The book is about the applications and possible adaptations of maps available on the web through Google, but it is clearly written by computer techies for computer techies, and passes staight over the head of the general reader. If you're into computers, you may well find this book useful and interesting - if you're not, you won't.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Embed the power of Google maps into your web pages 21 Jan 2006
By calvinnme - Published on
The Google Maps API lets developers embed Google Maps in their own web pages with JavaScript. You can add overlays to the map (including markers and polylines) and display shadowed "info windows" just like in the maps section of Google. "Google Map Hacks" shows you how to use the power of the Google Maps API to perform useful tasks via your web pages. A key is required to use the API, and a single Google Maps API key is valid for a single directory on your web server, so the key you get will be good for all URLs in that particular directory. You must have a Google Account to get a Maps API key, and your API key will be connected to your Google Account.
The book starts out with a simple "Hello World" map application and moves on to show you how to map local weather conditions, find the best prices on a particular product, share pictures with your community, and add interactivity by causing a map to pan or zoom in response to user input. There are a total of 70 hacks that are actually map projects rather than just tips, which is often the case in other O'Reilly Hack books. I particularly liked the set of hacks in chapter 4, "On the Road". Since I live in the uber-congested Washington DC metro area, it is helpful to have hacks that tell me how to avoid traffic jams and how to find out "why my cell phone doesn't work there". Because using the Google Map API depends on inserting the correct code into the Javascript of web pages, the reader should already be familiar with HTML and with Javascript in order to get the most from this book. Amazon does not show the table of contents (list of Hacks) so I do that here:
Chapter 1. You Are Here: Introducing Google Maps
Hack 1. Get Around [...]
Hack 2. Find Yourself (and Others) on Google Maps
Hack 3. Navigate the World in Your Web Browser
Hack 4. Get the Bird's-Eye View
Hack 5. Driven to a Better User Interface
Hack 6. Share Google Maps
Hack 7. Inside Google Maps URLs
Hack 8. Generate Links to Google Maps in a Spreadsheet
Hack 9. Use to Keep Up with Google Maps
Chapter 2. Introducing the Google Maps API
Hack 10. Add a Google Map to Your Web Site
Hack 11. Where Did the User Click?
Hack 12. How Far Is That? Go Beyond Driving Directions
Hack 13. Create a Route with a Click (or Two)
Hack 14. Create Custom Map Markers
Hack 15. Map a Slideshow of Your Travels
Hack 16. How Big Is the World?
Chapter 3. Mashing Up Google Maps
Hack 17. Map the News
Hack 18. Examine Patterns of Criminal Activity
Hack 19. Map Local Weather Conditions
Hack 20. Track Official Storm Reporting
Hack 21. Track the International Space Station
Hack 22. Witness the Effects of a Nuclear Explosion
Hack 23. Find a Place to Live
Hack 24. Search for Events by Location
Hack 25. Track Your UPS Packages
Hack 26. Follow Your Packets Across the Internet
Hack 27. Add Google Maps to Any Web Site
Hack 28. How Big Is That, Exactly?
Chapter 4. On the Road with Google Maps
Hack 29. Find the Best Gasoline Prices
Hack 30. Stay out of Traffic Jams
Hack 31. Navigate Public Transportation
Hack 32. Locate a Phone Number
Hack 33. Why Your Cell Phone Doesn't Work There
Hack 34. Publish Your Own Hiking Trail Maps
Hack 35. Load Driving Directions into Your GPS
Hack 36. Get Driving Directions for More Than Two Locations
Hack 37. View Your GPS Tracklogs in Google Maps
Hack 38. Map Your Wardriving Expeditions
Hack 39. Track Your Every Move with Google Earth
Hack 40. The Ghost in Google Ride Finder
Hack 41. How Google Maps Got Me Out of a Traffic Ticket
Chapter 5. Google Maps in Words and Pictures
Hack 42. Get More out of What You Read
Hack 43. Don't Believe Everything You Read on a Map
Hack 44. You Got Your A9 Local in My Google Maps!
Hack 45. Share Pictures with Your Community
Hack 46. Browse Photography by Shooting Location
Hack 47. Geotag Your Own Photos on Flickr
Hack 48. Tell Your Community's Story
Hack 49. Generate Geocoded RSS from Any Google Map
Hack 50. Geoblog with Google Maps in Thingster
Chapter 6. API Tips and Tricks
Hack 51. Make a Fullscreen Map the Right Way
Hack 52. Put a Map and HTML into Your Info Windows
Hack 53. Add Flash Applets to Your Google Maps
Hack 54. Add a Nicer Info Window to Your Map with TLabel
Hack 55. Put Photographs on Your Google Maps
Hack 56. Pin Your Own Maps to Google Maps with TPhoto
Hack 57. Do a Local Zoom with GxMagnifier
Hack 58. Find the Right Zoom Level
Hack 59. Show Lots of Stuff-Quickly
Hack 60. Make Things Happen When the Map Moves
Hack 61. Use the Right Developer's Key Automatically
Chapter 7. Extreme Google Maps Hacks
Hack 62. Find the Latitude and Longitude of a Street Address
Hack 63. Read and Write Markers from a MySQL Database
Hack 64. Build Custom Icons on the Fly
Hack 65. Add More Imagery with a WMS Interface
Hack 66. Add Your Own Custom Map
Hack 67. Serve Custom Map Imagery
Hack 68. Automatically Cut and Name Custom Map Tiles
Hack 69. Cluster Markers at High Zoom Levels
Hack 70. Other Cool Ways to Use Google Maps
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good information that's out of date 27 Jan 2007
By Alan B. Humphrey - Published on
The book is interesting and has many good ideas and some valuable information. Be aware, however, that the advanced hacks (those dealing with calling the API from your own code) are based on a now obsolete version of the API. So, for example, Hack 62 that tells you how to find that longitude and latitude of an address doesn't tell you that you can accomplish the task via Google now. Hack 58 (Find the right zoom level) has one (of three) technique that uses an undocumented API that has, apparently, gone away. And, of course, it doesn't provide the easy way to do it using the current API.

I'm not faulting the authors for not seeing into the future. The book is well written and engaging. Just be aware that parts of it are already out of date.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Google Map mashups 8 Mar 2006
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on
This book is really about using Google Maps in conjunction with other services to create mashup applications. So it not only illustrates applications of the mapping technology, but also gives you great insight into how to stretch Maps for your own stuff.

The hacks books aren't always about things you can use directly. Often they are like this book where your knowledge of the topic is stretched and inspired.

Great book. Highly recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DIY Cartography 3 April 2006
By Warren Kelly - Published on
Everyone knows Google Maps. Google has gone out of its way to make Google Maps something that everyone knows about, uses, and talks about. There are blogs that are just about all the mash-ups and hacks people have come up with for Google Maps.

And now, O'Reilly has released Google Maps Hacks, showing how anyone can use the Google Maps API for their own benefit, with a little help.

The book starts off with a basic tutorial on how to add a Google Map to your site - if you're going to mash up, you have to have something to mash, after all! It also (in Hack 27) shows you how to use Greasemap to add Google Maps functionality to any web site (assuming you've already got Greasemonkey and Firefox is your browser). As with all hacks books, Google Maps Hacks includes some basic hacks that just about anyone can do (and points to some great places to see great hacks already done!), and some that are going to require a bit of work and some programming skill.

There were several hacks in the book that I really loved. First, the book pointed me to a site promising to show me where I could find cheap gas. They've integrated Google Maps with GasBuddy to create something incredibly useful, though I wish it were updated more often. (My local station hasn't been updated since September of 2005!)

To use the really good hacks, you'll need a GPS. Many of the mash-ups are best used when you're out on the road. (Hack 35 shows how to dump Google Maps data to your GPS system, and #37 shows how to reverse that process and import your GPS Tracklogs to Google Maps.)

The most useful part of the book, though, is when we get to see how various mash-ups work. It's one thing to see a great use of the Google Maps API, it's another thing completely to understand how that's done so that you can do it yourself. And that's really what's valuable about the Hacks books - you're shown how something is done, so you can take that understanding and apply it to what you want to do. That's what hacking is all about - information and application of that information in new ways.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable content from all perspectives 8 Sep 2006
By Shaun W. Taylor - Published on
I've read both this and the ExtremeTech "Hacking Google Maps," and both have their place, but I found this one to be much more valuable.

It doesn't contain any introductory information to the API, which some may be looking for, but it's not something that I would expect to see in a Hacks book anyway. With the v2 release of the API in April 2006, Google's own documentation has gotten a lot better, and it's the best place to go for a tutorial.

The book contains a great collection of hacks from all perspectives: users looking to get the most out of Google Maps, power users looking to push the functionality in new ways, and developers using the API. There's also a good overview of some popular mashups from the mashups' developers perspectives, and extensions to the API (e.g. TLabel, TPhoto).

Because there are so many contributors, you'll notice a change in tone and writing style throughout the book; and different coding practices are easy to spot, e.g. one code sample might use a standard, documented JS call, while another uses a homegrown function to accomplish the same thing. Another drawback is that the book is written to v1 of the API, which was replaced months ago, although is backwards compatible. This doesn't affect readability or value, but several of the undocumented features in the book are in fact documented in v2!

Great book, filled with useful information.
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