Google creates tools to help web site developers build more interactive web sites. They started a few years ago when they created search function that a developer could add to a web site. (You can see a sample here: http://www.minnesotaruralpartners.org.)
Their latest tool is a mapping function that lets you tap into their tools to create an interactive map on your web site. I looked into working with the Google Maps a few weeks ago. They provide explicit instructions on their web site (http://www.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html). I must admit that it just seemed like a lot of work.
Recently I heard about a tool that helps web developers create a Google Maps Mashup (http://www.mapbuilder.net). (Thanks to David & Rick in Minneapolis.) With Map Builder you sign up, add your addresses and descriptions, and they build the map. You can host the map on the Map Builder site or publish on your own. To publish it on your site you need to get an API code from Google (Map Builder will explain). (Actually they offer a few options.)
Here is a sample map (http://www.mapbuilder.net/users/atreacy/21033). It tracks resources that help rural businesses. I’m working to finesse the map but I was happy with how easy the site was to create.
I’ll let you know how the site progresses and what I learn about the tool.