As you (or your children, as the case may be) start hunting for colleges, there’s a slick new tool to help you out. Egiate (as in coll-egiate) is a database of colleges in the US, with lots of slick Google Earth Plug-in use on the site.
They offer some nice tools to help you filter down to the school you want based on the type of degree offered, minimum test scores to get in, and a variety of other filters. They have data for 4800 schools, and will fly you there via the Google Earth Plug-in when you find one (it automatically defaults to Google Maps if you don’t have the plug-in).
For some campuses (such as Dartmouth, shown above), they use the plug-in to give a tour of the entire campus. When viewing a campus, try out the “Yelp” search box on the right. If you search for something like “coffee” or “wifi”, the results populate on the map instantly! When making a decision about a school, little things like that can sometimes make a difference and it’s a very slick implementation of it.
In addition, they have an iPhone app (with Google Map support) and an Android app due out next year. They’re even looking at support for Google Wave in the near future.
It’s got a few shortcomings — you can’t link directly to a school, you can’t search for abbreviations (“USC”, “UGA”, etc), and some minor things like that. I know the development team is working hard to iron those out, and it’s shaping up to be a neat project. It’s a great example of how you can use the Google Earth Plug-in to showcase this kind of data.
If you need to do some college shopping, check out Egiate.