The Oscars of Web Mapping

By Steve Lombardi

You've all had time to ooh! and ahh! over the official winners of DirectionsMag's first Web Mapping Contest, the Oscars of Mapping if you will.Now take a few moments to look at the winners in some of the lesser-known fringe categories of the online mapping competition.Prizes? No, just the thrill of the race and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you beat the other 104 contenders in the Golden Globes of online mapping.

Best Application for a Place I Never Heard Of
Bundaberg City Guide
With Zululand giving them a run for the money, the nod has to go to Bundaberg.See, contests can be fun and educational.

Best Raster Imagery Application
Davis Streetmap
A nice user interface, high quality raster imagery and good registration of the vector overlay combine to form a great online mapping experience. I've never been to Davis, don't know where in California it is, but I sure spent a lot of time tooling around the neighborhood with this app.

Most Misleading Name for an Application
Weed and Seed
Fajissel ma shnizel.I felt for sure Snoop Dog himself was behind this one.But a closer look revealed that in irony of ironies it's actually the man at work.Watch your back Dog.

Best Eye Candy
John Wayne Airport Monitor
Let it run for a few minutes and your screen will fill with the colorful trails of Commercial air traffics real-time positions.Fascinating.

Most Bang for the Buck
There were a number of entries built on freeware and open source products. The best of the bunch was MobileMaps, a location based search engine for the state of California.Where this MapServer/MySql/Perl concoction suffers in map presentation, it makes up for it in concept, ingenuity and creativity. I'd like to see them push this further.

Best Homegrown Map Renderer
With so many commercial map renderers for the web available, I was surprised to see a number of entries built on home made renderers.My favorite is the eGuide directory for Singapore.Its biggest problem was that many times I went to use it, it was unavailable or serving broken maps, but when it was working, it served up a decent looking map.

Application From the Guy With the Most Time On His hands.
Lunar Mapper
What was this guy thinking? Back to work Pendelton.

Biggest Tease
Ask the Spider
The Spider caught my attention with a nicely ray traced animation on his home page.Once inside, he further sucked me in, proclaimed the lofty goals of "soon becoming part of my life" and "Linking all of the actors of the geo-internet together".I was intrigued.So I asked.He would run off to his lair repeatedly for long periods, returning only to tell me that nothing was found.I remain curious and will track the spider closely in the future.

Nicest UI
Tour Santa Monica
A solid and easy to navigate Interface.Good looking maps in this ESRI powered application, and lots of detailed points of interest.Icing on the cake is the two grass skirted dancers who appear between map requests to alert me that data is downloading, soothing away the wait.Kind of reminds me of that episode of the Flintstones where Fred wins an appearance on a TV commercial in Hawaii.His line is "Please pass the Poi".POI.Points Of Interest.Hawaiian dancers.Get it?

This years contest was a lot of fun to participate in, both as an entrant and a user of the applications submitted.I'm looking forward to next years contest, and will begin planning my entry this week.Who knows, perhaps "Where is Steve II" with a camera phone permanently strapped to my forehead transmitting images of my location back to the web to accompany the map...

Published Saturday, August 23rd, 2003

Written by Steve Lombardi

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