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Speculating on future trends for online maps

The online mapping arena is changing so quickly, and I obviously am not able to cover the details of all these changes. Nonetheless, it's helpful to speculate on what I believe to be the long-term trends in this area as a way of priming yourself for future changes.

  • I think that you'll see a migration of many features found in typical full-fledged GIS system — e.g., shading of layers — into programmable web applications. (e.g., Pushpin Multi-layer map server)
  • Not surprisingly, we'll see the platform players (such as Google Maps) incorporate functionality started off as extensions to the platform into the platform itself. For example, sites such as mapbuilder.net provided a user interface for building Google (or Yahoo!) map before Google made it easier to build a Google Map via its "My Maps" functionality. Google's My Maps doesn't exactly duplicate mapbuilder.net but it's bound to win a major audience by virtue of its tight integration with Google Maps.
  • Google Mapplets are little applications that embedded in the Google Maps directly. (Note the contrast to the main Google Maps API allows Google Maps to be embedded in third-party websites) Again, because mapplets are located right in the context of http://maps.google.com, users can take advantage of increased functionality without having to go to a third-party website. Google Mapplets are to Google Maps as Google Gadgets are to iGoogle, Google Desktop, Google Page Creator. They are extension mechanisms for different part of the Google Platform.
  • We will see increased merging in 2D and 3D representations of the globe. Signs of such activity include

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  1. […] found a very interesting post about mashups and Google Platform. The online mapping arena is changing so quickly, and I obviously am not able to cover the details […]

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