Terrain map from Google Maps in 2011 - now part of Google Earth

Google App Enhancements: Terrain and Labels

I have drunk the Google Kool-Aid and rely heavily on their applications. I start my day in my iGoogle page and then use Search, News, and other resources. Two recent enhancements to Google Maps and GMail are interesting. Google Map’s addition of a terrain feature enables you to see a different view of your location, complementing the satellite view. The GMail labels are a more useful enhancement, although they may take a bit more time to learn.

The terrain feature in Google Maps replaces the hybrid button on the map. The hybrid feature, which enables street and other name labels to appear on a satellite map, is now part of the satellite button. Unfortunately, the terrain map doesn’t show a lot of detail. Now, perhaps they don’t mean it to be a topographic map (one of my favorite sites for detailed maps is the UK Ordnance Survey Get a Map service) but the terrain detail seems pretty useless. It’s interesting to take views of the same location, one using the Topozone site, which relies on United States Geological Survey data, and the other using Google Maps Terrain feature.

GMail Colored Labels

The GMail label enhancement is more useful. GMail has always used labels, as opposed to folders, to organize content. Now you can apply color to the label names, making it easier for critical labels to jump out or even to use color coordination to group labels. As you are looking at your e-mail, with the list of labels on the left side of the window, you can click on the small colored box next to the label (it may be relatively hard to see, but as you mouse over it, a small arrow will appear on it). A small color palette pops up and you can select a color by clicking on the appropriate shade. The color will immediately appear on the label. I found that some colors worked better than others, because of the background of the inbox.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.