A New Kind of Web -- Don't Miss These 11 Sites
CommunityWalk: You know those little tabs you see when you search in Google Maps for something like "pizza near 90210"? CommunityWalk lets you make your own map with tabs you set by entering addresses or by just clicking on the map.
You can also enter a label and notes for each location. I've used it to make a map of where the members of a local Internet forum live and to plot the locations of a bunch of open houses I wanted to hit one weekend. You can categorize the locations and choose a different icon -- basic or silly -- for each category. And you can make the map Private; Shared, so that anyone you send the URL to can see it; or Public, which lists it on the site and makes it available to search engines.
Gmaps Pedometer: Want to know how far that walk you took today was? Curious about the distance of your regular morning run? Just go to this site, bring up the Google map of where you do your perambulating and start clicking to place points along your route.
The Gmaps Pedometer will calculate the total distance and, if you enter your weight, even give you an estimation of the number of calories you've burned. That's what it's for, but you can use it to measure any distance. I compared the length of the northern and southern borders of Wyoming (they're not the same, you know) by "walking" the length of them on the map.
HousingMaps: So where are all those apartments on Craigslist, anyway? Go to housingmaps.com, choose a city served by Craigslist from the drop-down menu, enter a price range, number of bedrooms and other sorting criteria that Craigslist offers, and you've got a map showing where all the matching listings are located.
You also get a list of all the postings along the side of the map. Click on the icon next to any post to get a pop-up on the map showing title and address, or click on the listing title to go right to Craigslist. It's helpful if you're planning to move to a new house or apartment, but it's also a great way to pass the time dreaming about moving to a whole new city.
Just for fun
Goggles: Load the map of your hometown or someplace you just feel like visiting and fly your little Flash-animated biplane around to your heart's content. You can even strafe old workplaces or other locations you have a grudge against.
If you get lost, just dive until you crash into the ground and start over. Goggles opens with a list of 22 locations to start from, including New York and Los Angeles; Helsinki, Finland; Heraklion, Crete; and Mars and the Moon (though I couldn't get maps for the latter two.) There's also a way to set your own start location, though it's a complicated, multistep process. But if you can't find the location you want, just fly there.
Jake Widman is a San Francisco-based freelance writer who misses Paris and sometimes thinks of moving to Portland, Ore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.