New Yahoo! Maps Beta

The Yahoo! Maps team just released a new beta (and a great new set of Maps APIs) that is very cool.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the idea of doing some stuff using AJAX and a big chunk using flash, but after using it for a while, I’ve really grown to like it. It’s a HUGE improvement over old Yahoo Maps (and I really liked Y! Maps before). This release finally helps bring us up to snuff with the interactivity that GMaps had and then adds a bunch on top. I tried it on Mac Safari and Win IE and both worked well for me.

Some of my favorite things:

  • Point-to-point-to-point driving directions. Instead of just point A to Point B, you can set up a route (great for “lets grab lunch then go to the amusement park” type stuff)
  • integrated local search – type any search term and “find on map”. You can also browse through stuff. In old maps they used to call this “SmartView”, but they’ve integrated this with the new Y! Local, so the data is even better.
  • The APIs – now you can embed a map right into your page (only the other guy’s APIs used to let you do that). And beyond simple integration, you can add all sorts of controls to your site to control the map as well.
  • You can actually bookmark a map. Drag around the map, find your spot and you can bookmark it where you left off (also can email it too). I dragged my map all the way to Chicago where my family lives, zoomed in and bookmarked it. Those other guys can’t do that!
  • Drag, zoom, scroll -all the interactivity is there that you’d expect. use your mouse scroll wheel to zoom; drag the map; use that little box in teh corner to move pretty far away. nicely done.

The APIs look really robust, I’m not a wiz like other folks, but I was able to quickly embed this map for where I work. Drag it around; click on the marker to see my picture. Kinda fun (if I could do this so easily, I hope people with talent can do some cooler mashups).

#mapContainer { height: 250px; width: 370px; border:1px solid gray;}

// Capture the user mouse-click and expand the SmartWindow
function onSmartWinEvent() {
var words = “
Scott at Yahoo!
“;
marker.openSmartWindow(words);
}
// Create a lat/lon object
var myPoint = new YGeoPoint(37.416384, -122.024853);
// Create a map object
var map = new YMap(document.getElementById(‘mapContainer’));
// Display the map centered on a latitude and longitude
map.drawZoomAndCenter(myPoint, 3);
// Create a marker positioned at a lat/lon
var marker = new YMarker(myPoint);
// Add a label to the marker
marker.addLabel(“Me“);
// Call onSmartWinEvent when the user clicks on the marker
YEvent.Capture(marker, EventsList.MouseClick, onSmartWinEvent);
// Display the marker
map.addOverlay(marker);

var navWidget = new NavigatorWidget();
// Add the Navigator Widget to the map and display it
map.addWidget(navWidget);

Congrats to the Maps team. Be sure to check out their blog post and they have a mailing list going for comments.

UPDATE: So I guess there are people doing smarter things than my silly map. Jeremy blogs about a demo I saw floating around at work. Seems like a bunch of folks like Chad Dickerson, Ed Ho and a bunch of others did a great events viewer. Toni did a fun silicon valley map, and it oddly places the center of the map very near to yahoo. 😉

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