Google has been using the modified trikes — which house a 360° panoramic camera much like the setup on the Street View cars, but smaller and lighter — since 2009. Google previously released imagery the trikes captured in places like Stonehenge and Sea World.
Combine the latest update with Google’s previous release of Street View inside buildings and it isn’t hard to imagine that, in the future, Street View may well be in your living room.
In fact, you may be the one who puts Street View in your living room. Last year Google acquired Quiksee, an app that takes normal video input and produces video tours — much like Street View, but with no special camera required. Although Google has made no announcements since the acquisition, it’s not hard to imagine the company releasing some software that allows anyone to create Street View-like images of, well, just about anywhere.
If you’re adding a map to your website, why settle for the vanilla design when you can customize it and leave your own personal mark?
This tutorial will show you how to create a custom map from scratch, then add a little unique flavor to it by replacing the standard “map pin” icon with a custom icon of your own design.
To do this, we’ll be using Mapstraction, a library that creates map code that can be reused across all the big mapping providers (Yahoo, Google, et al). Mapstraction also allows for multiple types of customization such as custom info bubbles and graphics like the one we’ll be dropping onto the map.
Note: This tutorial is adapted from the book Map Scripting 101 by Adam DuVander. Adam is a former Webmonkey contributor and executive editor of Programmable Web. In his book, he shows how to use all of the features of the most popular mapping APIs, and how to mash them up with data from other sources like events calendars, weather services and restaurant review sites to make a variety of custom maps.
This exercise comes from chapters 1 and 2 of Adam’s book, and it is reprinted here with his permission and that of the book’s publisher, No Starch Press. It isn’t a word-for-word excerpt. It has been slightly adapted to work as a web tutorial. You’ll find dozens of in-depth exercises — including the full version of this one — in the book itself.
Create a Mapstraction map
Using Mapstraction limits your risk to changes being made to an API. For example, if your site’s traffic takes you beyond the limit for your chosen provider, or the provider begins placing ads on the map, Mapstraction lets you switch providers quickly and inexpensively.