[Location] CNN: Google tinkerers make data come alive
Google charts each point on its maps by latitude and longitude -- that's how Google can produce driving directions to practically anywhere in the nation. Seasoned developers have figured out how to match these points with locations from outside databases that can contain vast amounts of information -- anything from police blotters to real estate listings.
Thanks to Adrian Holovaty, 24, who overlayed Chicago Police Department crime statistics on a Google map, house-hunters in the Albany Park neighborhood can pinpoint all the sexual assaults in the district between May 19 and April 19 on a single map. With each crime marked by a virtual pushpin, Chicagoans can quickly learn what dangerous train stations, pool rooms and alleys to avoid.
Visitors to Floridasexualpredators.com, which combines Google Maps with data on convicted sex offenders, can call up maps of their communities and click on the pushpins to see the name, last known address and mug shot of each offender.
Drivers searching for their area's cheapest gas can go to www.ahding.com/cheapgas, which blends Google Maps with data from Gasbuddy.com's database of prices at individual gas stations.
Home buyers can pinpoint the locations of houses in their price range at Cytadia.com. And renters can turn to Housingmaps.com, which melds the technologies of Craigslist and Google, to spot available housing in 29 cities including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.