"Geocoding" is the technical term for finding out where things are, and as part of the recent upgrade, the Metropix system gained the ability to geocode the thousands of floor plans drawn by users since the company's inception in 2004. There are now over 400,000 geocoded floor plans, and the rate of growth is continuing to accelerate. Numbers are all very well, but to really visualise what that means takes a map. And below is just such as map, initially showing the town of Wokingham in England:
To see floor plans in your area, just type the town and country (or postal code) into the box and click 'Go', or scroll around the map at will. If you get bored of looking around England, there's always further afield. For floor plans somewhere completely different (and much sunnier...) you couldn't do much better than "Dee Why Park, Australia", for example.
Although the Google mapping is mainly just for a fun Friday blog entry, the geocoding does lead to a number of related new products which are to be announced in the coming weeks. More on that later.
Finally, a brief footnote for readers of a technical persuasion. The floor plan map is also available as a Google Mapplet, an upcoming new feature of Google Maps. Mapplets aren't quite live yet, so the process for viewing them is a little awkward. Firstly, visit the Google maps preview site, then click 'Add Content', then 'Add by URL', and finally enter this address:
This allows you to overlay the Metropix data onto the Google map without leaving Google's website, a similar technique to the 'layers' in Google Earth.