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Essential Resources for Google Maps

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Essential Resources for Google Maps

Last Update: 2005/11/19 – Added GChart – What time is it application.
Update: For voting your favorite (thanks to J. Shirley’s recommendation), I have created a poll at Lifehack.Community. Cast your vote and feel free to recommend more implementation and I will add it on the poll list!

Google Maps is one of the web technologies that take the web to the next level. When Google introduced Google Maps with searchable and pannable interface, and recently released the API for adding implementation on the map, it creates many interest from users and developers.

Now information on the web does not need to bind to “what” and “how” already. Your piece of information can be also represent “where” with Google Maps.

For our readers, I want to provide some greatest implementations on Google Maps, to speed up your retrieval of information on “where”. This is the essential top resources for Google Maps.

If you got suggestions of other tools and resources, feel free to recommend. I will add them to the list if I see fit.

Google Maps

    Top 10 Google Maps implementations:

    CheapGas
    “Getting best prices in your city. It is comprised of 170 gas price information web sites that help consumers find low gasoline prices. Powered by GasBuddy.”

    Geobloggers
    “geobloggers is a site that’s built upon two great technologys. Google Maps takes care of the mapping side and Flickr takes care of the image hosting, scaling, and so on. geobloggers mushes those two together.”

    Gmaps Pedometer
    “This is a little hack that uses Google’s superb mapping application to help record distances traveled during a running or walking workout.”

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    Google-Yahoo Traffic-Weather Map
    Combined with Yahoo Traffic Feed with Google Map to show traffic condition.

    Weather Bonk
    “Weather maps lets you view real time weather information on a google map. This can provide some very interesting information, particularly in areas with microclimates, such as San Francisco. For example, summer in San Francisco can be particularly cold and foggy, and this map can help you to find a sunnier area of the city to visit. Clicking on the web cams give you a visual observation from a given location. Looking at wind direction can help you locate approaching weather fronts.”

    Global Coordinate
    “The idea behind globalcoordinate.com is to take a number of common but different web applications and put them together. You will find here an atlas, weblogs, photo-blogs, travel guides, weather reports, news sources, etc. The objective is to let users find the synergies between these concepts.”

    Cell Phone Reception and Tower Search
    “Consumers can search for the best carrier in their area. And with our graphical tower location search, users can pinpoint nearby tower locations. Even to the exact rooftop with satellite imagery and the help of Google Maps!”

    Housing Maps
    Powered by Craigslist. This Google Maps visualize where to buy houses, rent rooms around US

    Tagzania
    “Tagzania is about tags and places. If you register and log in, you can add places, points, to create and document your maps. When you add a point, you may tag it with keywords. That way, Tagzania is not only a place to build and keep your own maps, shared territories are created as well.”

    Gchart
    Quick way to find out what time is it around the world.

    Worth to mention:

    ChicagoCrime
    “This is a non-profit, freely browsable database of crimes reported in Chicago. It is not affiliated with the Chicago Police Department or with Google Maps. It is not an official source of crime information for the city of Chicago. Rather, it is an alternative view of public record that is available elsewhere. At any given point, this site contains crime-report information spanning a 90-day period. After 90 days, the crime data is removed.”

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    gWiFi: Using GoogleMaps to find free WiFi
    “This website is an attempt to make it easier for the road-warrior’s, students, free loaders etc to find locations that offer free wireless internet access in the New York City area by showing all free wireless nodes on a Map of New York.”

    Track visitors to your website using Google Maps
    “Lets you track the visitors to your website using Google Maps.”

    Earthquakes in the last week
    “Earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater in the last 7 days. Click on the menu bar to choose a new map view or create your own view by clicking to re-center the map and then zooming in to get a closer look. Click ‘link to this page’ and then bookmark the new url so you can return to your new custom view.”

    Whereis
    “Geolocate where the server is on Google Maps from an URL.”

    ZippyWeather
    “Live Australian Weather.”

    Road Sign Math
    “How many road signs are there that have mathematical significance. I’ve looked at many, and there are very few. Road Sign Math is the game of finding road signs that have math in them.”

    toEat.com: Where do you want to eat?
    “toEat.com aims to be the central point for hungry people and restaurants to congregate. Our first release is the restaurant browser system, which is only a small piece of what is on the toEat.com roadmap.”

    beenmapped.com
    ” Never forget the location of that awesome place again. Bookmark it on BeenMapped.com!”

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    HotMaps
    “HotorNot + Google Maps = Finding Hot People (Male or Female) by Zip Code”

    Tools:

    gMap it!
    “gMap it is a mozilla Firefox extension that allows you to find directions from google maps based on publicly listed phone numbers.”

    Mobile GMaps – Google Maps on J2ME mobile phones
    “Mobile GMaps is a free piece of software that displays Google Maps and MSN Virtual Earth maps and satellite imagery on Java J2ME-enabled mobile phones or other devices.”

    MapBuilder
    “MapBuilder lets you build your own map with number of location and generate GoogleMap source code for this map. So you will be able to paste it directly into your web page and use it with your API key requested at Google http://www.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html. After creating your own map you will be able to save all locations with related information for future use. It means that you’ll be able to make some improvements for your map later.”

    HOW-TO: Make your own annotated multimedia Google map
    “This how-to will show you how to make your own annotated Google map from your own GPS data. Plus, you’ll be able to tie in images and video to create an interactive multimedia map. We’ll walk you through the steps we took to generate an annotated map of a walk we took recently through our hometown, now that it’s actually starting to get warm enough to want to walk about!”

    Hacking Maps with the Google Maps API
    Great guide on Google Maps API and how to make your own map implementation

    MapKi
    “This is meant to be a forum for sharing ideas, implementations, and help for the Google Maps API (http://www.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/). Any user can add to or edit any of the pages on the site, just like any wiki site.”

    Google Maps on your Website
    A how-to guide on putting a interactive map on your site

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    Integrating Google Maps into Your Web Applications
    Tutorial on how to integrate Google Maps.

    Resources:

    Google Maps Mania
    “An unofficial Google Maps blog tracking the websites, ideas and tools being influenced by Google Maps.”

    Google Maps on Wikipedia
    Good set of information on Google Maps by Wikipedia

    Google Maps Group

    Google Sightseeing
    A blog introduces some interesting place to look at by using Google Maps’ screenshots

    No particular order in each section.

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    Leon Ho

    Founder of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

    With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

    Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

    In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

    The easy fundamentals

    First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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    A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

    Here are some examples of strong passwords:
    * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
    * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
    * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

    And not so good examples
    * sammy1234
    * password123
    * christopher

    You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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    Managing your passwords

    I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

    So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

    There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

    Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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    LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

    Upkeep

    You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

    There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

    Alternatives

    You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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    1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
    2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
    3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

    These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

    So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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