Killer Maps

It’s hard to believe that Google Maps was only released last February, especially when you consider how a huge web-based ecosystem has sprung up around it since then. But it didn’t spring from nothing. Killer Maps, the cover story for the October 2005 issue of Technology Review, looks at how we got to this point — earlier mapping services and their unhackability; the decision to descramble GPS in 2000 — and the implications of making all kinds of data location-specific. It’s as good a summary of the past year as I’ve seen so far. Via Google Earth Blog. (The title of the article is a play on “killer app” — the apocryphal program that encourages mass adoption of a new technology: VisiCalc for the Apple II, e-mail for the Internet, et cetera, et cetera.)