As most of my friends know, I’m a news junkie, reading so many RSS feeds that I occasionally get “thank you” notes from Google Reader.  Here are a couple gems that made their way to my bookmarks this week.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did:

(An article on maps got me started and obsessed with all things cartographical so this first group of links is pretty focused.)

Safe Food Finder: A very nicely done mash up of Seattle Resteraunt health inspections and Google maps.  You may have to zoom in to see some of the smaller venues, but once you do you can see the line by line results of health inspection reports for the recent years. Someone with the time and access to data, should consider doing a more thorough, national scale.

NOAA Marine Data:  Another mash up, this one overlaps the NOAA marine maps with Google maps with adjustable transparency.  You can zoom in to check Some of these maps are pretty heavy-weight, so be patient when zooming in/out.

TiltShift Maker: This site applies a photo-manipulation technique to photographs to make them look like little models, the sort you might see in the opening scenes of a stop-motion movie.  It’s fairly bullet-proof but a little tweaking will make most images really pop.

Seattle Kayak & Canoe Guide: While a little dated, there is some valuable information on this site, including what appears to be first-hand revues of put-in points, common conditions, parking and so forth.  There’s an automatically updated timestamp on the front page, so there’s no way of telling when/if its been updated recently, but even so, as a newcomer I found the site a good starting point.

Google Maps Image Re-sizer: An application and instructions for using the same image tiling, zooming & panning technique used in Google Maps for your own over-sized images.   You aren’t limited to maps, of course, so this technique could be handy for all manner of large format graphical information.

Twitter-Friends: While the ultimate usefulness (both personally and professionally) of Twitter is still a hot topic for debate, this site has a clever twist.  It provides a way to “map” various statistical and relationship information on a Twitter account.  Depending on the complexity of your own personal Twitter-verse, you will get a clever dynamic family tree. For fun, plug in one of those mega-Twitters and watch the site grind away mapping them.  :-)