Especially since we launched MapKit, I've been thinking about how maps could be really exciting on some of my favorite sites. This a quick run down of some of the coolest websites that would be even better with maps.
The bloggersBloggers dig maps. There are a lot of great blogging services out there which don't yet allow their users to insert maps into their blogs. Making maps with your friends and readers is great fun, and it's also wildly useful. I'm working on putting together a parenting site for my town using some of the maps I have already made. Having a map on your blog where people can add their favorite sledding hills is not only super fun, but it's also a plainly valuable resource.
Live Journal is an amazing site. There are so many great people on there sharing everything from Live Journal avatars to fan writing to information about their college campuses and neighborhoods. It's these last groups I imagine most using maps if they had a way to do it, but of course once the possibility was there, we'd see other communities surprise us with their rad maps. I recently started a MapKit on a Blogger page for my favorite LJ community. People liked it and added a bunch of Places to it, but once the post with the link got buried, it was hard to get back to it again. It would be hot if LJ communities could have maps right on their front pages.
Gather is another great blogging and community service that could make great use of maps. I especially see maps being an amazing thing to offer to their groups. If a group moderator could give the group a map room, the foodies would have a great time mapping their restaurants and grocery stores, the activists would be able to map meeting places and resources, parent groups could map the best playgrounds... This is a perfect place for collaborative mapping to happen.
A lot of people are doing a lot of blogging on vox, which is Six Apart's newest project. The Porters' blog, which is a couple's report about their quest to eat their way across America, would be even more fun with a map of their stops. Alexa Clark, the editor and publisher of CheapEats restaurant guides, has a map on her blog Unsweetened.ca, but she can only link to it from her Vox.
We've already had feedback from Yahoo 360 bloggers asking us if there is any way for them to get MapKits up and running on their blogs. For now, none of our maps for publishing will work and the best you can do is a screen shot and a link.
You can tell that Windows Live Spaces likes maps because they have a really sweet flashy map view of the most recently updated spaces on every person's home page. It would be really hot if they also offered a MapKit module in their nice line up of blog features.
The Gothamist is part of a big gang of city bloggers spanning eight major cities in the US and Europe. They already have a brilliant mash-up of police and fire department calls in NYC. and they also make really smart use of the social tagging capabilities of Flickr and Del.icio.us. The Londonist has used Platial to make those rad "stalking" maps of London by artist or architect which I've written about before. Basically, they rule. It would be amazing to see the -ist blogs using MapKit to make maps with their readers. Last year after a blizzard, they linked to the NYC sledding map on Platial. This year they could let their readers add their own sledding spots, too, right from the blog post.
About.com bloggers have already linked to maps on Platial in their articles, but they are not yet able to publish their maps on their About pages. About is a great resource and it's full of lists of Places that would make amazing maps, and in many cases have. It's a shame they can't profit from having the maps right there in their templates.
The SocialitesSharing information about Places is one of the main activities on any social networking site. Imagine how much better it would be to have a map of where to get a decent burger in Boston instead of a thread that gets buried after two days. Imagine how much more useful the San Diego group would be on any social site if it included a map room.
Tribe has been one of my main time dawdlers for the past couple years now and I've met some great people there. They've done a lot with Place and event recommendations since the early days. I can imagine maps in all the Tribe city groups, but also on the blogs, or even the home pages. Each person could have a map of recommended local spots. All of the Place and event recommendations could be easily mapped. It would be a nice enhancement to an already fantastic site.
Yahoo Groups is a social mainstay. My first social networking group was on egroups, which was bought by Yahoo and became Yahoo groups. There are thousands of people sharing information about Places on these groups every day. Some of them already have maps on Platial, but it would be even better if they could just keep their maps right there on their group page.
Linked In could give its users a picture of the geographic reach of their networks by mapping their connections. It would be really fun to have a map of your direct connections, then a button to click to see all your 2nd degree connections, and so on.
You can already have a Platial flash map on your MySpace profile, and there are a bunch of them out there. Maps would be a really cool tool for MySpace groups, and a simple Tourmapper would be slick for bands.
Idealist connects individuals who want to make a difference in their communities and in the world to organizations who have the structure to accomplish that. We spoke with a couple people from Idealist a while back, and hopefully our dream of seeing maps of volunteer opportunities and political rallies on their site will become a reality. They have been incredibly busy getting their brand new site up and running. It is definitely worth checking out. Congratulations on the awesome work, Idealist.
The Couch Surfing Project is another highly-focused social networking site. It connects people looking for a place to sleep for a couple nights with people who are willing to let strangers sleep on their sofas. Brilliant! I had a couple French kids in my guest room for two nights this year, thanks to Couch Surfing. It was a lot of fun. I think it would be neat to be able to have a map on your profile page showing approximately where you live, plus the best cafe, the laundromat, and some of your favorite sightseeing locales.