Subway Smells, Deep Holes, and Nonprofit Contact Us Pages

More Google Maps madness. This hint is also courtesy of last month’s Not-for-Profit Webmaster Round Table, hosted by the generous David Milner from the Rainforest Alliance, which is turning out to be quite fertile ground for blog posts.

As Pradeep described earlier, and as has been noted by journalistic entities slightly more reputable than this blog (if such an entity is possible), Google Maps has written an easy-to-use API that lets programmers add information to a Map and implement it on their sites. As you might expect, the possibilities are endless — and, of course, tend toward the slightly ridiculous:

  • Housing Maps overlays Craigslist real estate listings — roomate wanted, apartment available, etc. — on a map of the city where the real estate is located.
  • Dig a Deep Hole asks users (in broken English) if they are “concerned about where you go to arrive if you dig a very deep straight infinitous hole on Earth.” It quiets those anxieities by presenting a map of the world upon which users can click — and then shows them where they would end up if they dug in a straight line through all that red hot magma.
  • My personal favorite, the New York City Subway Smell Map on Gawker, does exactly what you think it does. So now I know that waiting for the train at the subway stop around the corner from my apartment is “like being inside the bowels of a very sick animal.” Ironically, that’s exactly what my apartment smells like, too.

But I want to talk about something a little easier on the olfactory glands. And hopefully more helpful to our clients, many of whom have more pressing concerrns than where they would end up if they started digging in their backyards. Namely: Contact Us pages.

Many of our clients are national or international nonprofits with offices across the nation or the globe. We’ve all seen the standard static contact us page, with a simple listing of regional offices and the appropriate phone numbers, mailing addresses, and the like. But how about using Google Maps to create a more interesting, visual and informative Contact Us page?

You’re right, I didn’t think of this myself. See: the Rainforest Alliance has used the Google Maps API to create a Contact Us page that shows the location of its offices across the world. Each office is represented by a pin on the map. Click on a pin, and you get contact information.

Check it out. And keep the cool Google Maps ideas coming. Just make sure they smell good.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006 at 1:20 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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