Wed 1 Feb 2006
Eiffel to Empire
Say you find yourself in CBSâ€™s The Amazing Race or maybe just the urge to visit the Big Apple hits you. How fast could you get there? Pretty fast you say. Now the bonus, can you reach NYCâ€™s Planet Hollywood and tell us whatâ€™s across the street? Easy! Not so fast, we want to know whatâ€™s across 45th Street, not across Broadway. How about finding out before you arrive using only your PC?
More after the jump…
You find yourself in Paris, France when the need to get to NYC comes calling. So first you jump on a computer and book your flight. There are a million ways this can be done. Saving money by booking direct is always smart these days. But how do you search them all at once? Hop in your Kayak. Kayak is dynamic site that allows very fast searches of all sorts of flight information. With sliders and instantly changing results you can find and book a flight extremely fast. They even have a great new Buzz section. Say we need to get from Paris Franceâ€™s Charles De Gaulle Airport to NYC. We can quickly see the price for JFK, which was the cheapest NYC airport the day I checked.
Google Maps – NOT the answer
After booking you have a few hours to kill in the De Gaulle airport. You jump online and decide to seek out Planet Hollywood. Great, now you have the address, recalling May 2005â€™s TechLife article on Google Maps with satellite you figure this to be easy. But upon plugging the address in, you realize that the buildings around NYC are too tall for fine detail with satellite imagery. Now what?
Enter Amazon.com. Most people know Amazon.com for selling things. But in the past year Amazon has increased their offerings with a portal style search engine known simply as A9.com. A9.com has over 200 different types of dynamic search tools. One of the more interesting is their Maps offering.
As you sip a Pinot Noir in the DeGaulle Airport, you are amazed. Amazonâ€™s A9 has detailed street-level imagery of the corner you need to get to. In fact it turns out A9 has detailed block view images of 22 popular cities. So far they have documented 35 millions shots all with geo-tracking data to allow you to â€œwalk down the streetâ€ often seeing both sides of the street.
Whatâ€™s a Mashup?
You glance up and see your flight is on time, but you have a bit longer to kill and a bit more Pinot to drink. A friendly shoulder-surfer mentions â€œNYC Maps mashupsâ€ to you. Sounds interesting. You quickly pull up Google Maps Maniaâ€™s NYC Maps Mashups. A â€œMashupâ€ you quickly learn is when two data sets or databases merge to form something. In this case Google Maps and the NYC Transit system database. What a useful tool these mashups are, allowing you to plot a route from the airport to your destination, without getting stuck in a cab and losing due to traffic.
So whatâ€™s the answer? Whatâ€™s across 45th Street from Planet Hollywood? You tell me. Post your answer in the comments of this article.