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Online maps get flashy

Kevin Yank

Flash smartypants Paul Neave has taken the public APIs of Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth and built his own Flash interface to browse the satellite imagery offered by both of these services. And, may the JavaScript gods forgive me, it’s far smoother and more pleasant to use than either of the services’ respective Web interfaces.

For now, it lacks the flat maps, local search features, and other useful bells and whistles of the Google and Microsoft originals, but as a demonstration of what is possible with Flash as a frontend technology, it’s very effective. In particular, the ability to rotate the view is something that is a long way off in pure DHTML interfaces.

I wonder how long it will be before some enterprising folks attempt to produce a 2D clone of Google Earth in Flash. I’d be surprised if Google didn’t buy out such a project, were it to come to fruition.