There have been some excellent examples of Google map applications recently like Plazes, which allows you to discover locations and find people by proximity or location, and Mappr, where you can view Flickr photos by US geographic landmark or region. While these apps provide a social network for specific social purposes, the other wave of Google map applications like gVisit and MapStats provide another: a new way to discover, navigate and humanize your web statistics.
For years, I’ve seen charts, graphs, and numbers associated with page hits, unique visitors, path analysis, click tracking, robot views and the like. Just this last week when eHub hit the del.icio.us popular page and traffic skyrocketed, I was glued to my various stats programs.
While the numeric satisfaction can’t be denied, it’s the more visual location mapping of my visitor traffic at gVisit and MapStats that has me intrigued. When a new location appears, I toggle to Satellite view and zoom in.
I have a growing collection of screenshots from various remote locations, but rather than wait to put them all up, here’s the first of my satellite map zooms, showing a visitor from the Southwestern city of Chongqing, which I visited in the late 80’s. The “Mountain City” lies between the Yangzi and Jialingjiang Rivers, and not unlike my location (San Francisco), it’s a city nestled between two bodies of water. Being able to visualize and see where a person is (even if it’s a satellite image) makes site traffic much more meaningful. To me, this is what technology is all about.
For links to the apps mentioned and many others, visit eHub.
Visitor Map Zoom – Chongqing, China.
- Marc Eisenstadt on September 19, 2005 at 01:30 AM:
As a visualization/geolocation/blog enthusiast, I’m curious to hear your reactions about ClustrMaps, which has a different philosophy…
simpler maps, but very large scale accumulation of clustered dots showing all the visitors you’ve ever received. We may of course combine the two, but I’d be interested to hear your reactions.
-Marc (from the ClustrMaps team)
- Emily on September 19, 2005 at 06:51 PM:
Marc, thanks for commenting and good timing. I had heard of ClustrMaps and just hadn’t tried it yet. I’ve signed up and look forward to seeing the results shortly.
- Robby Russell on September 22, 2005 at 03:53 PM:
Have you see CommunityWalk yet?
- Emily on September 22, 2005 at 07:21 PM:
I have. In fact, here’s our spot in the SF community map. I like the concept but wish the interface/site had some design to it.
- Jared on September 23, 2005 at 09:13 AM:
If you have any suggestions for the design of the site I would love to hear them. I might actually be looking for some help in this arena in the near future as I agree that the front page needs some better design and I am not the most qualified person to deliver that.
Jared (CommunityWalk Creator)
- Jared on September 23, 2005 at 09:53 AM:
Also if you had any specific criticisms I would love to hear them as well. Of course you might just say that the whole front page is crap and I would probably agree with you, but if you do have specific criticims I would love to hear them.
- Emily on September 28, 2005 at 06:26 PM:
Jared, thanks for stopping by. I think CommunityWalk has excellent functionality and the concept is both personal and social. More attention to the design will help convey these concepts and make the site more approachable. It’s a great idea to work with a designer on CommunityWalk, but in the short term, you could try a few basic design tips: try to visually prioritize tasks and functions so that the visitor knows what to try first, or where she might want to explore. Select a color palette (try colorblender) that you can use for the site including CSS styles (try TypeTester) for the logo, titles, body font, link color, and accent areas. I can see blue and green hues working well for the site as it reminds people of sky, grass, travel, journeys. Perhaps you could add some color or other differentiation to call out the Create a Community button and user login focal areas. Rather than centering the text on the page, you might left align the text for a more organized appearance. Maybe there could be a small thumbnail grid showing latest maps added by the community, giving it some visual interest and another way to explore? Just brainstorming here…
- Jared on September 28, 2005 at 06:56 PM:
Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate. Hopefully I’ll have some time to implement some of your suggestions real soon.
Again, thanks for the great advice!
- Rush on January 28, 2006 at 02:25 PM:
All this can be really facinating, but i dont like the fact that countries defence maps,etc are being exposed with google earth, specially sensitve areas of a county . Especially with these terror groups having so much access to such information.