Friday, 25 January 2008

UK Public Transit on Google Maps

I went to Google maps today, and for the first time I saw the "Bus" and "Underground" symbols on it. I've not seen this in the UK before. It appears to be getting data from Transport Direct and TFL. I've not seen this announced anywhere.

At the moment, when it comes to bus stops near me, it looks likes it's missing one and it only has info for the 84 and 84x (and not the 307, 107, 326, 384, ... basically all the buses near me that aren't the 84 aren't included). High Barnet station now has a clickable Underground symbol that brings up what lines are serve that station.

Friday, 13 July 2007

BT Launch "GeoTwitter"

BT (yes, British Telecom) have launched a Google Maps Mashup that appears to be what can only be described as a bit like a "GeoTwitter". Needless to say it's not called GeoTwitter - it's called Tell'M

Basically, you post a message and it appears on a Google Map. The messages at the moment are mostly "hello" messages, but it seems like the site is mostly designed for quick anniversary, birthday, births, graduations, etc messages. I guess it's yet another nail in the newspaper classifieds coffin.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Reroutable Google Directions

Google have updated Google Maps with a feature I've long wanted - the ability to reroute directions on Google maps.

It really is slickly done (though at first it didn't seem to work right with Google Maps UK, it only started to work right after I had gone to the US Maps).

Monday, 21 May 2007


I've written a small groovy script to convert a CSV file full of points of interest into a KML file full of Placemarks. I unimaginatively called it csv2kml (with apologies to all the other csv to kml converters called csv2kml). I suppose it's full name is csv2kml.groovy, but that's a bit of a mouthful.

What happened was that I came across Little Chef's homepage and I saw that they had released a CSV file containing the coordinates of their restaurants. From what I can tell, this is a fairly common way of sending around POIs for Garmin GPS units, so hopefully it will work for most CSV POI files out there (though no guarantees).

Hosting for the project is provided by the big G - you can find it here. At the moment, I haven't released any files, but you can get the script from subversion (go to the source tab and then browse the repository - it's in trunk)

Friday, 9 March 2007

GMM - KML Files

Some good news, I was able to get GMM to load a KML file off of the web (one of the tmpegML -> KML files I created). It seems to only like files that have placemarks in them, I tried loading a file that was record of a trip I took last weekend, but it wouldn't load.

Over the weekend, I'll try to clean up my tpegML -> KML convertor. I think I'm only going to include the start point (though maybe both points if it's a "both directions problem") to cut down on file size (which looks a lot like what does)

GMM - It Crashed

Google Mobile Maps crashed when I exited, loosing my favourites. I hope that doesn;t happen too often (or at all, really)

Google's Mobile Maps.

I've installed Google's Mobile Maps on my Motorola L6. It's a Java Applet (with versions for Windows Mobile and Palms also available), though it looks like there are tailored versions of the applet for different phones. Officially, it doesn't support the UK ("Now you can use Google Maps in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States."), but it seems to work fine.

I'm not convinced by Google's directions - the route it gives between my flat and my parent's house is patently insane (the directions it gives will get you there, eventually). This isn't the first time I've had doubts about Google's directions (there's a section of the M25 it seems to completely ignore), so I doubt this is a problem only with the mobile version of the maps (and checking the route on the desktop version - it's the same route). I can sort of see how it goes wrong - it looks like it's calculating the shortest route (but even then, it's not the shortest possible route), the only thing I can think of is that it's the ideal route if there was no traffic involved. One day, I might try the route at 3am, just to find out.

There is one issue with the directions that is directly related to the mobile version of the maps. I stored the locations of both my flat and my parents house as favourites (I searched by postcode, stored that as a favourite and then renamed them to Flat and Home, respectively). When I try to get directions using the stored favourites, my start position is somewhere in Essex.

Other than directions of dubious quality, the rest of Google Mobile Maps works well. It has the most of the features as the desktop version, such as the satellite view - but there doesn't seem to be overlay mode. It can eat up data though (especially satellite imagery) - so it puts Orange's "all the data you can eat (up to 25 MB) for a £1" to good use. It's easy to use, and both maps and sat images display well, even on the L6's tiny screen. Finally, and possibly most importantly, it's free (as in beer).