First, let me say that this is exactly the type of geographical information that should be provided by your local news source. It's short, concise, well-layed out and informative. Spot on!
As this is in beta, there are obviously more features or changes to come. Let me offer a few suggestions:
- Aggregate more hyperlocal news such as from Topix or YourStreet. Sure, the NY Time is not the ultimate source but this type of aggregation is becoming more commonplace and it is a topic my editors are discussing as well.
- Should it be interactive? Right now, the Google Maps are static. For political and news purposes, using the map as a reference for news stories would be key, much like MetaCarta does now for Reuters.
- Filter the news by topic such as whether the news is city, state, or federally related. Since they've got those maps already generated just segment the news accordingly.
- Since this is a resource for residents, give them a way to "sound off" by allowing them a comments page about certain political issues.
- And if they have a gripe about a pothole, let them contact the city department directly by placing a "pin" on the map with a note about what the problem is at that location.