On the same day that Google updated all its mapping products, it also demonstrated the gentle art of making a really cool piece of new technology appear deathly dull.

Today we’re announcing a new way for developers to visualize and interact with data hosted in Maps Engine: DynamicMapsEngineLayer. This class performs client-side rendering of vector data, allowing the developer to dynamically restyle the vector layer in response to user interactions like hover and click.

Sure, the blog entry is aimed at software developers, so can be forgiven its language, but the example they use to promote the feature seems more suited to a dusty geography textbook than an illustration of something that could really transform the way we use Google Maps. What it actually means is that you can mouse-over a map to really quickly and easily explore anything from tourist info to property ownership. Read on for more …

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Imagine visiting a new city, looking up your hotel location on the map and then mousing over different areas around the hotel to see things like a description of the neighbourhood, must-see sights in the area, top-reviewed restaurants and so on.

Or mousing over the traffic info on a car journey route to find out what the problems are and how long they’re expected to last.

Or looking at a neighbourhood where you might want to buy a home to see school info, crime rates, shopping facilities and so forth.

All things we can do already in various ways, but a simple mouse-over wander around a map is an ultra-convenient way to do it. Check the layers of info of interest to you then simply mouse around the map.

We look forward to seeing what developers do with this tool, and hope it’s not more information about seeds and cuttings …

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