The Google Geocoder API transforms addresses into geographical locations with coordinates. This official Java library has the potential to expand functionality due to the other APIs that include directions API, distance matrix API, elevation API, geocoding API, roads API, and time zone API. Working with this library could facilitate automatic rate limiting, retry on failure, easy authentication, and asynchronous & synchronous requests.
Have you ever noticed how little sense the placement of zip codes make? Sequential zones are an entire city apart. Sometimes there are even zip codes wholly contained within other zip codes. It takes a visual zip code map to make sense of it. Huge.info has just such a map using an interactive Google Map and custom overlay images.
Take a look at MapCruncher. A very interesting new map mashup technique from the folks at Microsoft Research. It basically allows you to overlay any digital map image on top of a normal, zoomable Virtual Earth map.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last week ran a competition that involved identifying the location of 10 fixed red balloons throughout the United States. It was an exercise designed to see how people can self-organize on the Internet and how information disseminates through social and viral networks. It was won by MIT, taking just 9 hours to find 10 red balloons placed all over the United States.