Microsoft MapCruncher Lets You Mashup Data & Maps

Want to mashup maps and data? Microsoft's just launched its own way to do this with MapCruncher. The site's not responding right now when I check, probably because of demand. From the note Microsoft sent us, it's supposedly something anyone can do:

Researchers Jon Howell and Jeremy Elson found inspiration for this project in their hobby of cycling. They took a look at a King County (Seattle) cycling map and found a promising route. But at one point along the way, it appeared the route was interrupted by a freeway. The cycling map recommended the route, but how was a cyclist supposed to cross the freeway? By registering the cycling map with aerial photography from Microsoft Research?s TerraServer database, the answer became obvious: Upon zooming in on the aerial view, they could clearly discern a pedestrian bridge crossing the freeway.

The goal of MapCruncher is to try to make it so simple that everybody in the world who has a map they care about would be able to easily convert it into a format that they can share and combine with other people?s maps. The purpose of the Microsoft Research MapCruncher download is to share research prototype technologies with a broad audience so they can test and provide feedback for future projects and technologies.

Microsoft provides more info here. If it's really the case that even an ordinary non-programming person can do mashups, cool! It gets tiring when everything seems to depend on knowing how to use APIs. I look forward to checking more on this to see, when the site's back up.

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Danny Sullivan was the founder and editor of Search Engine Watch from June 1997 until November 2006.

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