Google Maps and Flickr have combined to provide a unique way for bloggers to contribute to the blogosphere through Geoblogging. Geoblogging is nothing new under the sun but I think this tool will make a somewhat boring part of the blog experience much cooler! First a brief word on Google Maps, how it became so powerful and why it seriously kicks everything elses ass.
Of course, those of us in the know when it comes to all things "Web" know that Google acquired Keyhole Corp. last year, the makers of the most powerful utility/service I have scene in a long time (and appropriately named) Keyhole. Keyhole uses 3D geography, aerial and satellite images and business information to allow users to create many cool flying and zoom effects from their location to any other locale in the world. All images are updated monthly and have remarkable resolutions, especially the street level urban aerial shots. Of course such detail will cost greatly. Beyond the artistic, Keyhole has corporate applications in land development, commercial agriculture and other industries.
So this explains how Google Maps got off the ground and why it is such a robust and powerful service. So what does this have to do with Google's free map service and Geoblogging? Well Flickr has a giant index of photos categorized by many keyword terms including location. So searching using the term 'Chicago' will bring you indexed photos of the city taken by Flickr users. Google Images produces similar results, again this is nothing new. But what is new is how Google Maps and Flickr have combined to raise the bar a bit for the free service making it even more useful.
Now users can bring up Google Maps that have special yellow balloons. These balloons signify an available "geo-tagged" Flickr image that is displayed with a mouse-over. So a city view will yield balloons for areas of interest, monuments, etc. Pretty sweet. But the coolest part is that any user can submit their own Flickr photos to Google Maps after adding some tagged information. Refer to the Geobloggers website (click on the title of this post) for more detailed information on how to do this. Basically, you can take a photo of your home, school, or place you like to hang out with friends, geo-tag it, submit it and it will be added to Google Map databases for that geographical area. So, if you submitted a photo of your house for example, a Google Map search for your hometown will contain a balloon which people can use to check out the photo of your house as well as the exact global coordinates (latitude and longitude). Now that's cool shit!!!