Google Maps have detailed maps & though other services like Yahoo! too have map services, the difference is that Google Maps are charted by lattitude & longitude & thus it makes easy to map a given location or one nearest to it. Besides Google Maps uses DHTML extensively to provide a rich user experience & users are able to scroll through the maps without re-loading the page. Combine all this with various kinds of databases of information available & you have a killer application that would find many patrons!!
For example, 24 year old Adrian Holovaty has created http://www.chicagocrime.org/ which marks each scene of crime in Chicago on a map with a pushpin symbol!! There are different crimes & different coloured pins for each!! Similar to this is http://www.floridasexualpredator.com/ which uses Google Maps to show the convicted sexual offenders in Florida, their last known address & mug-shots.
Another one in line is www.ahding.com/cheapgas(the website is down at the time of writing this post) which puts together Google Maps & Gasbuddy.com‘s database of prices at individual gas stations, so people can look-up cheap gas-stations in their area. Similarly, if you are in search for a home, then Cytadia.com uses Google Maps for showing real-estate on sale in US & Canada and if you are looking to rent a place, then Housingmaps.com shows you the light using Google Maps.
Clearly enough people find it easy to locate a position on a map & then zoom into that place for more details!! 😀 However, these websites are not using Google Maps with Google’s permission which does violate its user agreement. But Google is not commenting on any of these websites nor its trying to pull the curtain on them, possibly because they are free services!! So I guess that if some website comes up with such a service using Google Maps & charges any fees etc., then certainly Google will go after it. 😉
So thinking by the trends, there are a lot of things that can be done using Google Maps, & not just crime data & real-estate websites. So its to be seen now what kind of stuff we see next!! 😉