Top 10 Cool and Useful Google Maps Mashups

Get more from Google Maps with these ingenious mashups.

If You Only Had a Map...

Google Maps-based tools are a great resource. They can help you out with anything from finding a hotel for your next vacation to discovering what the weather was like on the day you were born.

Whether you're looking for pothole-free roads or hunting for your dream home, check out these 10 Google Maps mashups.

Birthday Weather

Were you really born in the middle of a thunderstorm, as your mother told you? The mapped historical weather data that WeatherSpark provides can answer that question. This weather mashup based on Google Maps can also show weather data in graphs and can compare weather patterns between two cities--a handy tool for vacation planning.

Coming to a Theater Near You

The convenient Reel Box mashup shows you what movies are currently playing at your local cinemas. The Reel Box finds your location automatically, and when you hover over a desired showtime, it provides directions from your current location to the cinema offering that screening. The mashup includes the trailer for each flick just above the map, and it provides Rotten Tomatoes ratings as well.

Avoid Those Potholes!

There are plenty of pothole maps mashups around, but Pothole Season is a cut above most of them because it not only tells you where the potholes are, but also provides driving directions for avoiding them. You can also use Pothole Season to report the location of unmapped potholes, and you can take it on the road in the form of a dedicated iPhone app.

Track Plant and Animal Life Cycles

The USA National Phenology Network added layers of its own data over Google Maps to create the Phenology Visualization Tool, which lets you view the life-cycle stages of various animals and plants. You can overlay this data with climate charts, too, to observe the interaction of climate change and animal migration.

New Maps Help You Find Old Maps

The Old Maps Online project is a Google Maps mashup that helps you find historical maps from libraries across the world. To find an old map, position the main map over the area you're interested in and slide the controller at the top to browse through dates. The results--displayed as thumbnail images of the relevant old maps--appear at the right, and you can click a thumbnail to go to the corresponding image on the hosting institution's website.

Find a Hotel Using Isochrones

The Google Maps Hotel Finder experiment uses public-transport travel times to generate isochrones maps that will help you find a hotel within a certain traveling distance (either on-foot or by public transport) of your desired hotspot. A slider lets you control the travel time, and you can fine-tune your search for the perfect room by specifying a star rating and a price per night.

Carbon Calculator Hits the Target

The Carbon Calculator Google Maps tool lets you draw polygons around an area on the map to obtain an estimate of how much the area is contributing to climate change migration. The tool uses several data layers; so it can provide information on each polygonal area's conservation values and forest status, as well as the amount of additional carbon that could be sequestered through forest restoration.

House-Hunt Like a Pro

Trulia Local is a handy Google Maps-based tool that allows you to search for properties while factoring in such potentially relevant information as nearby crime rates, schools (and their ratings), and amenities such as restaurants, banks, and gas stations. Data layers are available for most major cities, and you can consult the Trulia site's Price Reductions Map for a heat map that identifies the average number of days a listing remains on the market before the seller makes the first cut in asking price.

The Busiest Places...and the Loneliest Places

The World Touristiness Map is a heat map that shows the most photographed tourist spots based on analysis of photos from the Panoramio service. If you'd rather stay away from crowds, you can also check out the Interesting Remote Places Map, which identifies cool locales away from cities, including outback and hiking destinations.

A Different View of the 2012 Olympic Park

Get ready for the 2012 London Olympic Games with the Alternative Olympics Park Tour in London. This mashup mixes Google Maps with videos and photos from The Guardian newspaper. The tour takes you through the area where organizers built the Olympic park (complete with historical facts), through quirky parts of north Hackney, and along the Lea River. If you plan to attend the games this summer, you can also take the tour on Foursquare.

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