Everybody knows Google Maps. But even though it’s the gold standard in mapping, most people have no idea what you can build using their API. Morethanamap.com showcases some fantastic examples, it takes you up the Amazon, over the Alps, directs cyclists through the streets of Stockholm, visualizes flights in and out of Heathrow, well ... the list is endless. And to top it all off, we also highlight 6 truly inspiring stories from across the world.
I led the design with the crazy talented Upperquad team and the equally amazing people of Google. The team included Carl Bean-Larson and Phil Ruppanner of Upperquad fame, and on the Google side we had Carlos Cuesta, Luke Mahé, Ken Hoetmer, Chris Broadfoot and Rob Gray.
Before we set out to build the site we spent a lot of time digging up some amazing places to showcase. Since Google Maps basically covers the whole planet, and we only had a few slots, not everything made the cut.
Having such amazing locations to show off, our job when it came to the design of the demos was basically to get out of the way so that people could really immerse themselves in the scenery. So we went full screen, removed everything non-essential and made sure that the UI took up as little space as possible.
Even though the UI was minimized, we still had to give the user a way to navigate through the site and interact with the demos. Since space was precious we made sure that every single pixel was perfect.
Specially designed zoom controls, callouts for interaction points, mouseover navigation and a special map pin were among the elements created.
The main badge icons were made by the fantastic Carl Bean-Larson of Upperquad in regular and retina sizes.
After we finished up the design the Google development team, led by Luke Mahé, coded them up perfectly and even created some data vizualization demos from scratch.
If the demos are the heart of the site, the developer stories are the brain. Carlos Cuesta of Google visited 6 developers in 5 continents in just 8 days and found out how they were using the Google Maps API to change the world.
This is written two days after the launch. Yes that sentence. And this one. And after only two short days the site has received immensely positive reviews (even Jorge Cloony seems to like it). Below you can see a fraction of the tweets written all over the world.
“Google's slick new site is a sales pitch, showing off features like customized map styles, Street View, elevation information and data visualization. But the stories of developers creating important, problem-solving apps and websites are an even better pitch for the ability of smart programmers, entrepreneurs and maps to make a difference around the world.”
CNN, October 3rd 2012