New York uses Google Maps to guide tourists

City uses Google tools to create Web site that helps people find Big Apple hot spots

If you're planning a trip to New York, you'll probably want to find restaurants, museums and all the big sights.

Well, that might be a little easier today than it ever has been using a Web site launched by the city today.

The informational Web site, created jointly by the city and Google Inc., aims to help visitors and residents find what they're looking for in the Big Apple. In a blog post today on the on the Google Web site, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he hopes that becomes the official online resource for tourists and residents looking for an activity or a place to go.

The Web site uses Google Maps to help users find their destinations, as well as get directions on how to get there. The information can also be sent to cell phones via Google Maps for Mobile.

"In partnership with Google, we are launching a new Web site and Information Center to help make it easier for both visitors and residents to explore all the energy, excitement and diversity of New York City's five boroughs," wrote Bloomberg. "So whether you are a visitor or a resident, we invite you to explore New York City from your home computer, your mobile phone -- and of course, in person."

Bloomberg also noted that the New York City Information Center, which is located at 810 Seventh Ave., is still open as well. The center has interactive map tables, which are powered by Google Maps API for Flash. The tables are designed to let users navigate to various spots around the city and even create their own itineraries, which they then can send to their mobile phones. And the mayor added that the center features a video wall that uses Google Earth to show off a three-dimensional image of the city so visitors can further map out their itineraries.

New York is just the latest organization to use the Google Maps technology, For example, JetBlue Airways Corp. in 2007 jointly developed an application with Google that lets its passengers follow their flights in real time on the plane's seat-back televisions.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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