Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Zooming ahead

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You may have seen some chalkmarks on the streets with a teardrop shape and the URL zoomin.co.nz. This is part of a new campaign to publicise the mapping site ZoomIn, which I wrote about way back in November. Back then, I mentioned that it looked very promising, but not quite at the level of Google Maps yet.

Screenshot of ZoomIn showing the 'Wellington waterfront changes' groupNow it's really starting to get going, with a refined interface and aerial photos. But even better, their promise of a two-way system that allows users to add places of interest is beginning to bear fruit. They said that "we want people to add stuff - like their views of what cafes they like and what beaches are good, so people can use it to share information", and that's exactly what's happening. It's extremely simple to sign up (for free), click on some places on the map and then add descriptions, links and photos. What's more, you can gather them together into groups, link other people's places into that group, and publish a link to the map of all places in that group. For example, it took me just a few minutes to create a Wellington waterfront changes group to highlight the places that I mentioned in my recent post Waterfront evolution.

There already plenty of places of interest marked on the map for Wellington, with groups highlighting skateboarding spots, railway stations, beaches and shops on Cuba Street among others. I wouldn't be surprised if some dipsomaniac ends up creating a map of Martini reviews before long. There's an API you can use if you apply for a development key and like to play around with JavaScript, and from what I've read so far it offers the ability to add custom icons, tailored behaviours, geocoding and all sorts of juicy possibilities. But for now, there's plenty to play with just using the standard interface and think of all the ways that this could link in to blogging, Flickr, transport timetables, restaurant reviews, sporting events, architectural history...


At 9:45 pm, April 06, 2006, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, that's cool - it's getting better all the time. I don't know any of the other names involved, but Ben Nolan's been doing very interesting stuff for a while.

Anyway, I've started by marking my favourite overlook.


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