I’ve given Google Maps mashups a hard time because I don’t see too much value in many of them. I don’t need a mashup showing me where all the Starbucks are located since they are on every corner. But, some people are really started to figure out how to use Google Maps and create mashups that really add value to their websites. Take the City of Portland’s Advanced Property Search tool, it is much like any search you’d see from a large city, but it now gives you a map view showing where your search results are from. Simplicity is what works and this really is integrated well. If you need more detailed results, you can still drill down into their detailed ArcGIS server maps. The search tool also allows you to save your results into Excel ( including centroid coordinates in lat/long!) and Philip Holmstrand let me know they plan to offer Google Earth KML links soon.
The team over at PortlandMaps should be congratulated for really pushing the envelope on their web based mapping. They’ve been able to utilize ArcGIS Server, Google Maps and Google Earths to try and get their GIS out to as many people as possible. Search is something that is always really hard to get right (I know, I’ve struggled with coding them for years), but Portland Maps gets it right.