18 June 2008

MAPme.com - A Community Based Mapping Project

MAPme.com - A Community Based Mapping Project
Mapme Logo

MAPme.com a social mapping site which allows everyone from travelers to special interest groups to create and contribute locations by suggesting 'Hotspots' and other information that other members of a map might be interested in.
Mapme social mapping weirdness
Filters include 'weirdness' - in this case the 'Dancing Elvis Troupe' in Tokyo

These travel guides are community maps where other members can leave comments or photos or even submit their own locations. Usually, these suggestions will either be added directly to each map, or they go into a moderation queue assigned to the map owner (depending on the type of map).

"Each map is like a new post in a geographic forum”, says John McCann, who managed the development of the site. “We have given the map owners as much flexibility as they could ever need in terms of being able to moderate location data, but we've also allowed for options for public and personal maps – public maps are generally a free for all, and personal maps are for mostly private use".

Global Development
The development of the MAPME project took around 6 months, and was achieved on a shoestring budget by outsourcing work to all corners of the globe. Programmers working in the UK, Philippines, The Russian Federation and Australia patched together the MAPME application using open source software including the CAKE rapid development framework and of course the Google Maps API

According to Robin Metcalfe- the lead developer of the project, the most complex undertaking was getting the permissions system right, and working out how to allow users to effectively explore a map that might have 500 or 500,000 markers. “We don't have a map with 500, or even 5000 Hotspots on it yet, but I think our system can handle it”.

Community Mapping
While community mapping is relatively new concept and something that hasn't really taken the online world by storm (yet), MAPme.com is also excellent for creating travel or city guides that are useful in their own right. Take for example this guide to Cebu, in the Philippines;
Mapme Cebu - Philippines

Future Applications
Apparently a Facebook Application, and Map Widget (built in Flash) are on the way, but for the time being map in can be exported in GPX format (easily transferable to portable GPS devices) or by KML. You can even keep an eye on any map activity by subscribing to the RSS channel for each guide.

MAPme is a great looking new site in the ilk of Flagr.com and Platial.com but on a global scale which is easier to use and better to look at. With the addition of an exportable map widget, this could easily be the best web 2.0 community mapping site on the net.

Map your World at http://www.mapme.com

Overall there is a lot of content already and subject matter that might call for some over 18's certification but on the whole the site works well with the sense of being part of a geo-community mapping project.

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