Google just launched a Maps Gallery, a centralized atlas of maps created by governments, non-profits and other organizations. Though it's still a nascent project, there's already a lot of interesting finds in there.

The maps in the gallery so far represent organizations like the World Bank, USGS, NASA, and the US Census Bureau—Google says it'll be adding more soon. (Click here for information if you want to get your organization in on the fun.) Probably the coolest part is that the maps are layered on top of the standard Google Maps UI so that in many cases zooming in gives you access to more details. Above is Earth and night, and below are a few of our other favorites from the first batch.

Internet Users (% of the population)



Roads of North America


Energy Consumption: Industrial Energy per Capita, 1960-2008


[Google Maps Gallery via Google]