Tagzania + Google Earth

I already linked to Tagzania a few days ago — this proudly Basque outfit lets you collect, title, describe, tag, save, edit and copy points of interest (henceforth called POIs) using Google Maps. You can use Tagzania’s own incredibly clean binary list/map interface to do all this, or you can use a personalized bookmarklet in Google Maps to add POIs to your personal collection.

That’s just the start. All these POIs are shared, and you can view them by author or by tag, on a Google Map or as a list. And each author and tag collection has its own RSS feed, to which anyone can subscribe. Update your POI collection and the feed instantly reflects this.

Now for the clincher: Given that geotagged RSS is practically an XSLT transformation away from KML, I asked Tagzania today if they were considering outputting these feeds as dynamic network links for Google Earth. The answer came three hours later, in the form of a KML badge next to the RSS badge. It works perfectly.

Wow. This has turned into quite a day for adding functionality to Google Earth.

How is this better than Virtual Earth’s scratch pad? Let us count the ways. The scratch pad only lets you save businesses you’ve found via Virtual Earth’s search. Tagzania lets you save any POI whatsoever, and let’s you edit it, tag it and share it via RSS and KML. You can access your POIs at all times from any computer connected to the internet. This means that if you spend 4 hours at work marking all the best beaches in Greece, you can inspect them further with Google Earth when you get home, which will gladly fly you from island to island.

Anyone can now create their own personalized sightseeing site in Google Maps, and it will be viewable in Google Earth. Groups of people can collaborate on projects by using common tags. Friends can instantly mark and share tips for shopping. Geography teachers can make lesson plans and share them with a class of Google Earth-browsing students. The possibilities are very broad indeed.

(What about spamming? Tag-based feeds are spammable, as far as I can tell, but user collections should be immune, as long as you subscribe to people you trust. How does Flickr guard against tagspam?)

[Update 08:05 UTC 2005-07-27: Because I cannot tell a lie, and because I don't want to take credit for other people's ideas:

Me in an email:

> Did you really do that in three hours, or had you been working on it before:-)?

Tagzania:

No. It was almost ready from day 1, july 20th, just some bugs detected in the performace in Google Earth. Once we corrected them, we made it public yesterday. As a matter of fact, we did it *before* your msg reached us... But, well, the story at your blog is just too good to change that with the truth now:-)]

10 thoughts on “Tagzania + Google Earth”

  1. Tagsania is a plagiarism of beenmapped.com

    beenmapped.com was launched on July 11th, just the same day Tagsania registered their domain.

  2. Hi, I have no way of knowing if you really are from beenmapped, but I just want to append my own observation.

    There is a difference between Beenmapped and Tagzania:

    Tagzania has tags, and RSS and KML feeds based on those tags and on authors. Beenmapped doesn’t. This makes Tagzania a little the del.icio.us of geographic places. (and no, that does not make them a plagiarist of del.icio.us)

    Beenmapped provides the ability of users to leave comments on each point, and rate them. Tagzania doesn’t. This turns Beenmapped more into an am-I-hot-or-not for geographic places. Again, without plagiarising.

    Other social bookmarking sites for geographic locations are on the way. check out geepster.com.

    The idea of mashing collaborative filtering with geographic spaces is, if I may say so, a little obvious, and in the long run it’s the site with the best implementation that will likely become the most popular.

    (If you really must have prior art, remember that Microsoft’s Virtual Earth showed off its scratch pad before any of the sites mentioned here existed.)

  3. Hi Glaxkor!

    You know much about tagzania. Were you involved in the development? How did you know that they built it only in 8 days, after seeing beenmapped? (domain registered on 11th, published on 19th)

    Do you really think that people copies sites this way? Do you think that both sites are so similar that a copy is the only explanation?

    Tags (del.icio.us) and maps (googlemaps) are the hottest thing in the net in the last months, so mixing them up, is it so original and creative?

  4. We’ve seen those posts in many sites about the “fact” that our application (Tagzania) is just a copy of Beenmapped. We don’t understand why somebody could have this idea and what can he earn broadcasting it.

    - Tagzania is not an original invention. Many people that knew del.icio.us and the Googlemaps API had the same idea, we knew it from the begining. Nothing new under the sun, no atomic energy, no peniciline. This is why we had to work very quickly. Tagzania is not original, we copied and combined ideas from several other apps (sorry, not from Beenmapped, that we came to know 1 day before the launch of Tagzania).

    - Yes, we worked hard, but not as quick as in 8 days. Do you really think that the first thing we did was registering the domain? We had other beta versions in our local server some weeks before we thougt a name and registered it for the application.

    - We really think that the Beenmapped and Tagzania have a different approach. So let’s work and develop the application. Time will tell us if we were right or not. Do your best, as we’ll do.

    - Beenmapped and Tagzania are not the only two applications to bookmark the earth. Just take a look around and you will find many other apps, with slightly or completely different approaches. Leave aside those egocentric ideas. We are not alone in the universe.

    - Anyway, we’ll be proud if somebody copies Tagzania one day. That way, we’ll know that we did things right. Moreover, in the hypotetical case that we fully copied Beenmapped, ours will be just a crap copy, and Beenmapped is the original one. So, why worry about that?

    We don’t know if you really represent Beenmapped, but we are sorry that you understand this way the net. We have a wider point of view of it.

  5. No alibi for the troll chasing Tagzania

    Tagzania has been accused several times, since its launch, by a troll that accuses our site to

    be plagiarism, a copy of another web effort: Beenmapped. We have tried to answer some of those

    allegations, as the ones that appeared at Oogle Earth. But f…

  6. Yes it is. There’s never been simple placemark links in Tagzania. Instead, the site provides a KML button next to the RSS button for each user or tag (att the bottom of the page). Click on the button and you get a network link that always contains all locations that fit your criteria, updated automatically.

  7. i have added a tag in Tagzania,i am a new user,will google show the place i tagged in ?if so how they will they verify whether it is correct or not?

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