In this crazy Web 2.0 world, it's all about one thing: the user. It's about what the user wants from your site, and what the user can contribute to your site. That's particularly true about map sites - the world is a big complicated place full of users who are experts on the 10 mile radius around them. That's part of the reason why maps.google.com added user-created maps, geocode editing, and local business reviews this year. Now, the question pulsing through your mind is probably: "How can I get in on some of this user-contributed action??" Good news, we have an answer!
Our latest article, "Creating a User-Contributed Map with PHP and Google Spreadsheets" describes what's necessary to set up a shared Community Map application. The article takes you through the steps of registering a user, logging in a user, letting users add map places, and creating the map. The article uses Google Spreadsheets for a pseudo-database and the PHP client library to perform HTTP operations, giving you the advantage of a nice frontend for database editing/viewing (spreadsheets.google.com) and a database that's not dependent on a particular hosting provider. However, those of you who are more comfortable with PHP/MySQL should be able to read through the article and apply the same principles to a MySQL database instead. As always, please post in the forum with questions.