If the runaway popularity of Google Earth is any indication, topography is in. In a quest to make the humble hybrid map interactive as well, Wayfaring built its free Web-based social networking site on the Google Maps platform. Users begin by plotting favorite spots or routes on a map, which they can then spruce up with Flickr photos and YouTube video, blog content, and notes. Maps can be shared and tracked, and exported to other sites, like a personal blog or MySpace page. In another social networking feature, you're encouraged to explore and rate other users' maps. Advanced users who want to break away from the point-and-click method of map creation can try their hand at Greasemonkey scripting options.
The site's features and onscreen education for new users are a big plus, though some manual tasks should really be automated. For instance, Flickr photos and YouTube videos cannot be easily imported; Wayfaring provides instructions for exporting from the two sites. It would also be nice to have an automated look-up provide addresses for plotting points of interest on the map, instead of manually transferring them between windows. We would also like to see photos associated with map points, more flexible editing for misplaced map points, and a drop-down menu to select from your most-used tags. Despite the growing pains, Wayfaring is on its way to becoming an interactive addition to the social networking establishment.