Google Maps and Flight Planning

Google has just made an announcement that could have a profound effect on the resources available for flight planning online: they have created a free API (application programming interface) to Google Maps.

The flying geeks who read this blog will understand the implications of this immediately; for the rest of you, it means that any web site (any free one, anyway) can now reliably build web applications integrating Google’s maps and satellite photos. Do you want to see a scrollable, zoomable satellite photo of British Columbia with victor airways overlaid? See an outline of the newest TFR on top of a detailed street map of New York? Web site designers with only the most basic LAMP and Javascript skills can now deliver sites that do that with days or weeks, rather than months or years of work, and people with advanced skills — Paul Tomblin knows I’m talking about him — will be able to do much, much more. With wireless Internet in the cockpit, we could even have live Google maps with weather overlays on a tablet PC in the our cockpits, and laugh at glass-cockpit pilots for their primitive technology.

Seriously, expect to see some interesting aviation-related applications appear in the next few months. I’ll link to them from my blog if I hear about them.

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About David Megginson

Scholar, tech guy, Canuck, open-source/data/information zealot, urban pedestrian, language geek, tea drinker, pater familias, red tory, amateur musician, private pilot.
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5 Responses to Google Maps and Flight Planning

  1. Paul Tomblin says:

    Way to put the pressure on, David. I’m already way late on delivering the airspace generator for FlightMaster, and I’m still having memory problems with my new web host. Never mind the “NavWiki” that I haven’t even started yet.

  2. Jared says:

    This is great… I’m in the process of putting together my own EFB so I’m glad to see things like this. You can follow my progress in my blog if anyone is interested… I’m still evaluating software and screens. Do many airports out there have wifi these days? I don’t believe any of the ones around Charlotte, NC do…

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  4. Emsl says:

    Why is it necessary to have internet in the cockpit? Why not have aviation/street/sat maps on your laptop and use a gps system to update your position on the map in real time. This would seem possible to do now.

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