Annotated maps

by Eszter Hargittai on June 27, 2006

As you may have noticed by now, I like maps. In fact, geography was the only elective I took in high school, two optional years in addition to the two required (no, I didn’t go to high school in the U.S. as you are likely able to guess from that info). Those classes included lots of material of less interest to me (e.g. leading mineral producers in the world and what shrubs grow in the tundra), but we also got to look at maps a lot, which was the main reason I was hooked.

Image Hosted by Free image hosting*

Given these interests, I was excited to find Quikmaps this morning, a service that lets you annotate Google Maps, save them, go back and edit them, and in the meantime post them on your Web site. There have been other related services (GMapTrack comes to mind), but none have managed to do this as well as Quikmaps. I have been using Wikimapia for some map annotation purposes, but it’s not so good when the locations you are specifying have limited appeal. The one problem with such independent little upstarts is you never know how long they’ll be around (e.g. GMapTrack is nowhere to be found) so it’s not clear how much time and effort one should spend creating maps.

Nonetheless, if you want to explain to someone how to find you or want to annotate your favorite locations (or just restaurants) in town, this seems like a very helpful service.

UPDATE 11:30am CST: The site is down, but the “quikmaps guy” has posted a note on Digg to say he’s working on getting it back up asap. In the meantime, you can at least take a look at the homepage on duggmirror.

UPDATE 1pm CST: It’s working now here.

[*] I have purposefully avoided embedding a map here. I don’t want CT page loads to be too taxing on the Quikmaps site. It should be busy enough dealing with the digg effect .



gnarlytrombone 06.27.06 at 8:39 am

I just noticed that the maps used by Quickmaps are produced by TeleAtlas, while the Google Maps page uses NAVTEQ.

I noticed because the TeleAtlas map includes a new subdivision west of Chicago I was looking for, and the NAVTEQ version doesn’t (I’d link but Quickmaps seems to be struggling at the moment). Strange.


The Modesto Kid 06.27.06 at 9:26 am

Excellent! Thanks.


The Modesto Kid 06.27.06 at 9:30 am

Or rather… Hmm. I’m getting 403 errors trying to access the site. Anybody else?


M. Gordon 06.27.06 at 9:31 am

Wow, how prescient. That was quik. The site appears to have been CrookedTimbr’d.


David Sucher 06.27.06 at 9:41 am

I can’t get through to Quikmaps either. 403 Forbidden.


R Pollack 06.27.06 at 11:45 am

I like the annotation tools on the site, but like you I wonder if the site will be around for long. It appears to be the product of a personal enthusiasm, rather than a business plan. What I would like to see on all these mapping sites is the ability to import and export map data in a standard format [e.g. CSV]. I do not like the idea of locking my data into one site. I want to be able to move it around whenever a site comes up with better features.

RSS feeds can be moved in OPML files, and calendar data in ICS files. Why not map data?


nik 06.27.06 at 4:09 pm

The “what happened to geography at U.S. universities” question is a really interesting one.

The big recent news is that Harvard’s just opened a new center for geography and started hiring faculty ( Plenty of people think that before long they’ll have a geography department again.


Ryan Miller 06.28.06 at 6:46 pm

As the systems administrator of [? Ed.], which has been Dugg, Slashdotted, and all the rest, I’d just like to note that you shouldn’t hesitate to link to sites which are going down hard, except perhaps as a temporary courtesy to your readers so they don’t click and get a blank page–despite your very healthy audience, your total linking traffic isn’t a tiny fraction of that produced by the major tech news aggregators, which can easily produce in the range of 40,000 hits an hour to anything on the front page.


Ryan Miller 06.28.06 at 6:48 pm

And sorry to all for being careless with my html, perhaps Ezter or Kieran will fix it.


Eszter 06.28.06 at 8:40 pm

Ryan – there was only a bracket-a-bracket in place of a link so I don’t know what you were going to mention. I’ll fix it if you tell me.

I don’t think a simple link to a site from us will bring it down. However, if I embed the map/video/image/etc so it loads every time CT is pulled up then I’m putting unnecessary burden on a site.

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