A while ago I mentioned that I had been playing around with Google maps. I have now put my mapping tool on my website which you can find at http://maps.simonbuckle.com. Let’s call it a beta version for now.
It would also be nice if Google would grant full access to their maps API. What do I mean? If you go to Google’s map application and enter your address, the map will automatically move to that point. Smells like reverse geocoding to me. This would be a nice feature to have on my site. The map is initially centred on Palo Alto. You have to manually move around to get to where you want to be before you can start drawing your route. Yahoo Maps allows me to do reverse geocoding. Why doesn’t Google? I could implement my own reverse geocoding scheme either using the raw location data, which the U.S.Census Bureau makes freely available, or I could use an online tool such as Geocoder but these solutions aren’t going to work for UK addresses. As far as I am aware location data for the UK is not freely available (it is expensively available) so that isn’t really an option.
Driving instructions would be good too. Again, you can do this with Google’s map application but it’s not mentioned in the API documentation. The problem with drawing straight lines on a map is that it only gives the distance as the crow flies. Crows can fly over tall buildings, humans and cars cannot. You could try going straight through them but I wouldn’t recommend it.