Q & A with the Lead Writer of GoogleMapsMania

Posted on September 9, 2009

At the end of August our friends at GoogleMapsMania did a Q and A with our staff that can be checked out here.

We in turn had some questions for their lead writer Keir Clarke about the industry, since their site has been the top destination for Google Mapping news since 2006!


1. How did you get involved with the site and how did you meet up with the founder of GoogleMapsMania Mike Pegg?

I first submitted a site to Google Maps Mania back in April 2006. That site was Virtual Tourism.
I was very excited that I had found a way to embed videos directly into Google Maps. I decided that it would be cool to show the satellite imagery of tourist destinations around the world and then let people view a video of the same location.
Mike was kind enough to feature that map on Google Maps Mania. Then, over the next couple of years, Mike wrote about a few of the other Google Maps mashups that I developed.
When Mike got his dream job with Google he was keen to keep Google Maps Mania independent so he started looking for someone else to take over the blog. At the end of 2007 he asked me if I would be interested. I was! So in January 2008 I started writing for Google Maps Mania, before taking over completely a few months later.
I have never actually met Mike in person but I have spoken to him a number of times on the phone. At some point I hope to get over to San Francisco (I’m based in London) so Mike and I can finally meet in person! I definitely owe him a drink or two.

2. How do you find the workload to manage the sites?

I’m lucky enough to be able to just about support myself by working freelance as an online map developer and blogger. This means I work from home, so I have the opportunity to dedicate a lot of my time to Google Maps Mania.
In truth it is a labour of love. The return I get from the advertising on the site does not really justify the time I spend researching and writing for the blog. However through Google Maps Mania I have developed some amazing contacts in the ‘neo-geography’ community and the blog helps keep me in touch with the current developments within online mapping.

3. With so many things happening in maps, how do you decide on what content to write about?

There are some exceptional and very professional Google Maps mashups being created now. However I love the fact that Google Maps mashups are incredibly easy to create. Even if you have no programming skills you can easily use Google My Maps to build an online map or you can use one of the many third party Google Maps creation tools.
I therefore try to promote not just the maps created by established companies but the maps that are developed by the enthusiasts and ‘hobbyists’. If you submit a map to Google Maps Mania the chances are it will get reviewed on the blog.

4. Has it turned into a full time job?

Definitely. Google Maps Mania takes up a lot of my time. I really do need to get out more!
It isn’t just writing the posts for the blog, I spend a lot of time searching for new Google Maps mashups, responding to requests for help from developers and responding to the occasional media enquiry.
However, as I’ve already mentioned, there is a huge payback in keeping in contact with some amazing developers and keeping in touch with the amazing developments in online mapping.

5. What’s your favourite post?

I’m not sure which is my favourite post. I can tell you about some of my favourite maps.
I love the recent developments in real-time Google Maps mashups. The first of these was probably Dave Troy’s Twittervision and I also really liked Ben Marsh’s UKSnow map, which mapped Tweets about snow in the UK earlier this year.
I’m also very much in awe of the open platform built by Ushahidi. Ushahidi have built an open platform to crowdsource crisis information. It allows anyone to develop a Google Map mashup to which users can submit crisis information through mobile phone text messaging, email or via a web form.

6. Do you ever see yourself supporting other mapping platforms? (E.g. Bing, MapQuest etc.)

No, the number of Google Maps mashups being developed keeps me far too busy to blog about other platforms. I also want to stay true to Mike’s original vision of Google Maps Mania, which was to keep track of the developments in Google Maps.
I’m very excited by the Open Street Map project and I do try to keep abreast of their continual development. However I feel there are already a number of excellent blogs that provide an excellent overview of the other online mapping platforms. Mapperz, in particular, keeps me up-to-date with the developments in other platforms.

2 Responses to “Q & A with the Lead Writer of GoogleMapsMania”

  1. Terry Holte
    Sep 11, 2009

    Mobile maping with mobile phones.

    Is there a new format for browsing mobile google maps. I cannot get any mobile phone to bring up maps in the web browser.

  2. kevin.macdonald
    Oct 08, 2009

    The web version of Google maps doesn’t function well in mobile browsers. Instead, we recommend that you consider a native map app for your mobile phone. iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia smartphones come with a map app that offers a user experience tailored to their respective platform.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Do you have a great Google Maps mashup idea? Then there is no time to waste. Let us know and we can help you.
Follow us on Twitter