The nice programmers at Google have done some clever things with dynamic HTML and big fast servers with mountains o' maps and aerial imagery. Recently Google unveiled an interface to let other people create and display zoomable scrollable maps. My initial crude efforts along these lines are visible at http://zhurnaly.com/maps/DC_Metro_Area_Trails_GPS_Waypoints.html — the locations of mileposts 0 through 13 along Rock Creek Trail near where I live. (Click on a point to see its identity; drag the map around or click the up/down/left/right arrows in the upper left corner to pan the view; click or drag the vertical +/- slider to expand or contract the scale; click the Map/Satellite/Hybrid buttons to see alternative images and overlays.)
What's next? On the data side I see that some of my GPS coordinates are off by tens of meters and need to be corrected. Maybe some day I'll put in better captions and plot other points along Paint Branch Trail, Northwest Branch, Northeast Branch, and my other favorite jogging paths. It might also be cute to draw lines along the trail routes, add sidebars with links to supplemental information, and so forth. I have an album of photos of the mileposts along the trails, and perhaps it would be neat to make those pop up too.
A higher-level question, however, remains: can (or should) this sort of thing be Wiki-fied? Perhaps people could add new points and commentary to the waypoints.xml data file, for instance, and edit existing markers. The "Katrina Information Map" site http://www.scipionus.com/ does this in a spiffy fashion.
How might that be implemented most easily here? What sorts of data would people want to share? Is the programming worth the trouble? I dunno ...
(for the Google Maps API see http://www.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/; cf. CoordinateCollection (19 May 2002), RockCreekTrail (31 May 2002), MarathonCoordinates (3 Oct 2002), MarineCorpsOrdnance (1 Nov 2002), AnacostiaTributaries (28 Jan 2003), EdwardsFolly (13 Apr 2003), RileysRumble (27 Jul 2003), ...)
Yesterday morning I carried an antique GPS receiver and took waypoints
every 1-2 minutes (100-300m, roughly) on the double-back double-loop
course of the Lake Needwood 10k cross-country MCRRC race ... see
the ugly connect-the-dots result. My low sampling rate combined with
other GPS errors makes for an impressionistic scribble that a
two-year-old might be proud of! But at least now I've figured out how
to draw lines on a Google map, so if anybody has some good waypoints
feel free to send them to me and I'll try to help you plot them ...
And BTW, here's an image of 42:21:00 N 71:04:41 W = my GPS measurement
on 20 June 2002 of the endpoint of the Boston Marathon, as painted on
the street just north of the Boston Public Library:
Points for W&OD (Washington and Old Dominion) Trail have now been added ... mileposts 0-25, with half-mile-markers 18.5-24.5 also included ... ^z
See http://zhurnaly.com/maps/Swab_Zimmermann_2oct05_map.html for GPS coordinates collected by ^z = MarkZimmermann in Rock Creek Park during a jog on 2 October 2005 with Ken Swab ...
The page http://zhurnaly.com/maps/Maryland_Trail_GPS_Waypoints.html has been superseded now by a much more comprehensive coordinate collection at http://zhurnaly.com/maps/DC_Metro_Area_Trails_GPS_Waypoints.html ...
For a good time see http://zhurnaly.com/maps/DC_Boundary_Stones.html — a Google Map page showing locations of 10 of the DC Boundary Stones which I visited yesterday. I also took photos of them which I'll be happy to send to anybody with who is foolish enough to feign interest ... for decimalized latitude & longitude see http://zhurnaly.com/maps/DC_Boundary_Stones_waypoints.xml (the XML which generates the aforementioned Google Map) ...
To read about DC Boundary Stones see http://howdertravel.home.mindspring.com/dc-1.html and http://www.dcdar.org/BoundaryStones.htm ... and if you want to undertake a science project — computing the errors in the stone locations (including both my GPS errors and the errors made in the original placement) please let me know ... tnx! ^z
Mike Pegg of "Google Maps Mania" http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.com/ posted some kind remarks on his blog about my DcBoundaryStones http://zhurnaly.com/maps/DC_Boundary_Stones.html project — see "Sunday Google Maps Assortment" http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.com/2005/11/sunday-google-maps-assortment.html ...
Four more stones located today — SW9, WEST, NW1, and NW2 — see http://zhurnaly.com/maps/DC_Boundary_Stones.html as updated for their locations, and http://www.flickr.com/photos/zhurnaly/ for images ... ^z
See http://zhurnaly.com/maps/ for index to my Google Map experiments ... ^z
For excellent information on the stones see Mark Kennedy's site http://www.boundarystones.org/ .