More than 4,000 "collections" are created each day by users of Microsoft's Live Search Maps. Microsoft defines collections as "mashups for the masses," says Alex Daley, lead marketing manager for Microsoft's Virtual Earth business unit. Collections don't require the programming know-how of a Web developer--no knowledge of Ajax required.
There's no limit to how informative and creative consumer location mashups can get. Fans of HBO's The Sopranos can pinpoint key events from the TV show at www.hbo.com/sopranos/map, while the site's Crime.Organized feature combines, among other information, a map showing locations where bad things happen, such as the Bada Bing club's parking lot or a cemetery.
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Fortune's 100 best companies to work for, plotted on the Mibazaar.com blog
A popular mashup created using Yahoo Maps is Runningmap (www.runningmap.com), which lets runners plot their routes and measure the distance. Developed by Randy Troppmann, founder of Web application development company Spin Technologies, the mashup contains a live chat window for sharing running tips and links or asking questions.
The Yahoo APIs also were used to create the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' synchronized map and time line, which lets visitors explore the life of William Shakespeare (www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/shakespeare). You can get a crash course in major events in Shakespeare's life by clicking on the locations where his plays were staged.
To mashup or not to mashup? That is the question. Businesses need to stop pondering it and learn from consumer sites.
GPS Mashups Are Going Nowhere,
and Using Google, Microsoft, And Yahoo APIs To Create Mashups