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Google Maps, meet Craigslist real estate

A programmer has figured out how to overly Craigslist real estate listings on Google Maps.

An enterprising programmer has combined Google Maps with Craigslist's real estate listings to create a tool that lets people find housing simply by looking at a map.

Paul Rademacher, animation tools technical leader at DreamWorks Animation, created a service that skims real estate listings from Craigslist--an increasingly popular free classified ad site. Each house or apartment's location is then overlaid onto a map drawn by Google's new mapping service.

Each listing is shown as a pushpin, and clicking on the pushpin pops up a small window with the price and sometimes a thumbnail image of the property. A list of the visible properties runs down the side of the screen, each linked to the original Craigslist posting. And because results are filtered into price categories, users can easily steer clear of high-rent districts.

The site can use Google Maps' click-and-drag and zoom features. Rademacher also recently added the ability to use the service with Google's satellite map images, though he cautions that sometimes the satellite images are out of date.

Rademacher isn't the only one to build on top of Google Maps. Adrian Holovaty has used the Greasemonkey software to combine the service with the Chicago Transportation Authority's maps. That work led to a parallel effort with Boston's MBTA public transportation.