By Eleanor Isaacs

Isn?t the good old Aussie ute a great idea? By mixing a truck and a car, the resulting vehicle is often more useful than owning both.

If the ute had been invented today it would be called a ?mash-up,? thanks to its blend of two different items to create a new and more valuable idea.

The same desire to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts is what?s behind the idea of Internet mash-ups, websites that take information from many websites and bring them together on a single web page.

Where to mash-up

A great example of mash-ups at work is Bikely (www.bikely.com), a site designed to help cyclists create maps of their favourite rides. Bikely lets anyone plot a cycling route on an online map. Bikely then automatically links to a source of information about the altitude of the streets and paths a ride takes, so you get a nifty graph that shows just how high the hills are.

Bikely mashes up the map, your route and the altitude data in one place, and the combination is much more useful than a map alone.

Sensis also offers tools to make mash-ups, with myPlaces (workshop.whereis.com/myplaces) an experiment that lets anyone do the digital equivalent of sticking a pin into a map to note places of interest or importance. Anyone can access myPlaces and put their own places on the map for anyone else to view. Examples of mash-ups on the site include a series of entries that point to the location of cafes that Melbourne residents consider to be the best sources of coffee. Visiting myPlaces gives you the chance to see those entries mashed-up and displayed over the top of Whereis maps.

Another type of mash-up is on show at iPond (www.bigpond.com/ipond), a new innovation from BigPond that lets anyone create a mash-up of their own.

The site offers dozens of information sources, some from Sensis and many from other sources. To create a mash-up all you do is drag the source of information you want onto a web page. So if you want your page to mash-up sports news, financial information, a digital clock and some games, a few clicks is all it takes to mash them up into a web page that is perfect for all your needs.

So what are you waiting for? Australians invented the ute, one of the greatest mash-ups in the world! What will you mash-up?

Source: Australian GO magazine