Nanaimo Capital of Google Earth

The latest issue of Time Magazine names Nanaimo the Capital of Google Earth for it's cutting edge Earth Nanaimo data bank powered by Google Earth. The Information Technology Department at Nanaimo City Hall deserves high praise for putting our beautiful city ahead of all other cities worldwide in the amount of municipal information uploaded onto the Google platform.

Nanaimo's existing CityMap is based on the old Autodesk MapGuide 6.5 software and was developed about seven years ago (way before Google Maps). It allows users to search for addresses, businesses, points of interest, parks, trails, bus stops, and parking lots, among others. You can check utility lines, rights of way, zoning designations, and school catchment areas. It's even possible to print out your garbage collection schedule.

Although CityMap will please internet junkies and professionals, it isn't exactly easy to use. It only works with MS Windows and Internet Explorer 6.0+. Unfortunately, Mac and Firefox users are out of luck. You must download and install a MapGuide plug-in, and have to turn off your pop-up and ad blockers. It could take you a while to figure out how to use the maps, so don't begin until you've got a heap of rubber time at your disposal.

Similar is the official Community Mapping Network which “was created to share a wealth of natural resource information and maps with communities in British Columbia.” It's also rather complicated and requires you to download a program called MapBuilder, so allow a few more hours to get intimate with it.

If you find lack the patience to learn how to use these sites, the basic Google Map of Nanaimo is simplicity itself, allowing you to drag the map with your cursor and zoom in by clicking the + sign. Switch to satellite view to get a close-up aerial photo of almost anything in Nanaimo. Now that's what I call brilliant.

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