This week has revealed a lot about how the online mapping sites respond to disasters that close major routes and affect driving directions. Within two days of the MacArthur Maze freeway collapse in Oakland, Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and MapQuest had updated their web sites and revised their recommended driving directions; Tele Atlas’s database was updated within a day (Newsfactor, Yahoo Local and Maps Blog). In contrast, no update was issued when a Seattle-area bridge was closed: the difference is in the duration of the closure. If a bridge or freeway is out for days, it’s not worth updating, because it’ll likely be open again by the time the updates are pushed through the system. Longer term closures — like the MacArthur Maze collapse — are a different matter. Via All Points Blog.
Google Transit, the trip planner that includes public transportation data, started last December (see previous entry) with Portland, Oregon as its single city, presumably as a proof of concept. Today they’ve added five more cities: Honolulu, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tampa, and Eugene, Oregon. See also Google Maps Mania.
If the amount of maps, software and hardware available is any indication (see previous entries: 1, 2; the Seattle Area Traffic page has moved since that July 2003 entry), the traffic around Seattle can’t be very good. Now here’s another one: Eric points us to Busview, a Java applet that shows the real-time locations of Seattle city buses. (Related: Copenhagen Commuter Trains in Real Time.)
Lost in Seattle is an experiment I’d like to see repeated everywhere. It’s a clickable map of downtown Seattle that shows street-level businesses. I’ve seen this kind of detail on some maps, particularly of downtown commercial areas, but this is a good online implementation. A mobile version would be killer. (via Muxway)