New Google Map Utilities Enhance the User Experience

Take a look at our API directory and you will quickly note that the Google Maps API continues to reign as the most popular API used for mashups. As the API continues to gain momentum, several new utilities have emerged to improve the User Experience (or UX as it has come to be known).

First up is GeoStart, a startup from the Netherlands, which has open-sourced two helper utilities to the Google Maps open-source utility library: ProgressBar Control and SnapToRoute. The ProgressBar Control creates a status bar that shows the progress of markers being added and removed from the map. SnapToRoute lets you snap a marker to the closest point on a polyline, ensuring that the marker is always somewhere on the line. [via Google Geo Developers Blog]

Next up is a new marker clustering utility from Mapeed, which uses a fast clustering algorithm for the display of high data volume maps. The Mapeed Marker Fusion plugin is offered as software-as-a-service (SAAS) with both free and commercial licenses. Marker Fusion can be used to display up to 50,000 records as clustered markers, and the service includes a JavaScript API that can be used to integrate your data with the service. [via Google Maps Mania]

Mapeed also just got some good press by building CrunchVision, a slick map mashup on top of the CrunchBase API.

We are excited about these new utilities, and we're looking forward to seeing the innovative ways that developers will use these in the ever-growing number of map mashups out there.

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: Google Earth Mashups Coming to the Mac