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Google recently launched a dedicated Maps Gallery [google.com] to showcase a collection of hand-picked maps from several preferred organizations, such as the National Geographic, the U.S. Geological Survey or the City of Edmonton. It is the goal that in the future, people will find most maps not through the gallery, but via the standard search results.

The included maps range from the somewhat unappealing population statistics map based based on data from the World Bank, over an intriguing overview map of all fastfood location in the US, to the beautifully rendered Dominican Republic AdventureMap by the National Geographic.

Participants who apply for the program and are selected by Google receive free access to the enterprise version of Google Maps Engine, which includes specific connectors that facilitates easy importation of public data.

Via TechCrunch, The Verge, CNET, and many others.