Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

Video Mapping Update

Now that Google Earth 4.2 allows the embedding of videos it is an opportune moment to assess the current state of video maps. We aren’t aware of any other sites that have produced collections of embedded videos for Google Earth similar to our own Worlwide Video KML so we will stick to Google and Yahoo Map mashups for now.

Professionally Produced
Geobeats logo
There are a number of travel sites that now produce professional looking travel videos and use maps to demonstrate location. My favourite in this category is geobeats which uses Yahoo Maps to place-mark their videos from around the world. Geobeats actually embeds the map within the video rather than the other way around. Therefore when you are watching a video you can click on the map link and a map of videos in the same area appears. Geobeats provides a Google Earth file of their videos so you can view the links to the videos in Google Earth. However as yet the videos are not embedded in Google Earth so you have to link back to the geobeat site to actually view the video.

Lonely Planet TV logoLonely Planet.tv on the other hand uses the Google Map API and embeds and plays its videos from the map. The actual screen size of the video player is a little small but the killer app of Lonely Planet tv is that you can embed a map in your own website.

Mappeo logoA new entrant to video mapping is Mappeo. Mappeo mashes up the Google Maps API with the YouTube API to provide a video and location search. For example search for cathedrals in London and Mappeo will embed any YouTube videos that are tagged 'cathedral' and 'London' onto a Google Map.

On a smaller scale than geobeats, Mappeo and Lonely Planet tv is one man outfit Visititnow. Visititnow features tourist videos of northern Italy and uses Google Maps to highlight the location of each video. The main reason I find myself returning to this site again and again however is that the videos are wonderfully shot and edited.

Moom is a Japanese version of YouTube that plots submitted videos on a Google Map. This is therefore a great resource for Japanese videos but like Google Maps’ YouTube maplet the videos aren’t usually that illustrative of the location where they have been placed.

Smaller Scale Sites

This problem of not particularly illustrative videos or videos that aren’t that well produced is one that is shared by Virtual Video Map. The site promises that it will soon have the option to add your own video makes this a site to watch out for. At the moment Virtual Video Map is similar to our own Video Map, which, while acknowledging our own obvious bias, we believe is a collection of higher quality videos.

On an even smaller scale is Budapest Video Map a video map of Budapest which although it doesn’t have many videos has chosen some videos from YouTube that illustrate the location on the map. It has pages for North America and Australia which are blank at the moment but suggests the site will soon be expanding into other locations.

Conclusion

It is a bit surprising that none of these sites have yet taken the opportunity to use Google Earth 4.2’s ability to embed videos directly into Google Earth. This means that our Worldwide Video KML is probably the best option at the moment if you want to watch videos in Google Earth. However we are sure that this situation will soon change.