- Good: Rollnzoom is another entry in the crowded place annotation website field, but with a couple of things that set it apart. What’s innovative is that there are several ways in which you can add a placemark — by locating it on a map, by uploading KML, by copying and pasting a placemark from Google Earth or by copying a permalink URL from one of the major mapping services. Places are sorted by date, tag, group, user, latest and popular. The design is light and attractive, though you can only see individual places on maps or Google Earth, not collections of places.
The other innovation in the placemark collection website field is not something that appeals to me per sé, though perhaps it does to others — it’s the social tools: You can rate others’ reviews of places, get friends, and get points for jumping through various hoops — very much like with social networking sites. (This is not for me as I abhor social networking sites. If anyone ever sees me join Orkut/LinkedIn/Facebook/Friendster/MySpace please shoot me. I mean it. If I get another invite I’ll be forced to launch MyMisanthrope.com — a social networking site with room for only one member.)
- Bad: NAC Earth is a free Windows-only helper application for Google Earth that lets you navigate to short “universal addresses” (such as “H5Q2 R48Q” for the Eiffel Tower). I’ve never heard of the “Natural Area Coding” (NAC) system before, and I’m not sold on what the advantages might be over old-fashioned coordinates, but it appears to be a kind of tinyURL for places. People who want to geocode to NAC have to pay, though. Is anyone using this? Is there a point to this?
- Ugly: On a virtual world there need not be any land scarcity — but that’s exactly what Mapisimo is trying to introduce to an instance of Google Maps, letting you “buy” parcels on a first-come first served basis. You get two for free if you register, and you can get more land by referring friends or by paying $2 per small square, of which there are 510 billion all over the planet. On your parcels, you get to write whatever graffitti you want, into a textbox.
This is a pyramid scheme cum the million-dollar homepage. What a spectacularly bad deal for users. (Laughable press release, with the immortal lines: “Some experts agree that Mapisimo will soon turn into a virtual hangout like Second Life, but by utilising Google Earth this virtual world will be staged in a real world setting.”)