Google Middle Earth

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The road through Middle Earth is long and windy, and now it’s been mapped by Google. For its “Lord of the Rings Online” game, developer and publisher Turbine, Inc. licensed the Google Maps API to map out world of “Lord of the Rings.” And like all things Google, it’s in beta! “We will keep it in beta as long as we’re adding features,” said Jim Drewry, director of marketing at Turbine. The map and wiki Turbine offers to its users is part of a retention-based marketing strategy.

When Turbine called Google to ask about licensing the map API to create a map for Middle Earth, Google was a little taken aback. When you use the API Google “almost assumes you will be mapping the earth. When it’s not the earth, things get interesting,” said Drewry. Turbine created the map with hundreds of thousands of map tiles stitched together. It’s hosted by Turbine, and trafficked through Akamai.

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