Friday, June 19, 2009
On Google Maps, we try to label important places directly on the map tiles. But sometimes, it seems more helpful to just click on a point and ask "What's here?". Now you can do exactly that with an option we've added under the right-click menu. When you click on "What's here?", we give you the most relevant result representing that location, whether it's a specific address, a natural entity, or a place name.
This feature takes into account the zoom level you're looking at, and gives you the most appropriate geographical entity at that point. For example, if you're zoomed in closely on Manhattan, you can get the full address of a point by clicking on "What's here?". Additionally, by combining this with the "At this address" feature that you may have seen in the left-hand panel, you can also see a list of the businesses located at that place.
If you're a bit more zoomed out, you can get larger features, such as the names of the different Islands in the Galapagos Archielago - Isla Fernandina, Isla Isabela, Isla Marchena, Isla Guy Fawkes, and so on.
In the technical world, this feature is known as "reverse geocoding". It has been available in the Google Maps API for a couple of months now, so you can also put it to use if you're a developer.