Ms. Burrows’ Mapworks WordPress Plugin

My friend Jillian Burrows just released a MapWorks plugin for wordpress and this is just me trying it out. I think it is just a question of shortcode and perhaps it installs a graphic in the public page to enable you to get more information. You can read the README just as well as I can. I’m just blogging this to spread the word.

Here is me blindly trying to insert a map of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, where I have recently been. I basically just insert the data:
mapworks name=”Isla Santa Cruz” address=”Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, Ecuador” in between square brackets, which is wordpress’ way of doing short codes. Let’s see if that pulls up a map.

Hmmm… at first glance it looked like it didn’t work. But given that the island is largely uninhabited, Jillian pointed out that there just wasn’t any political/humanish data such as roads and cities, and that if you switch to satellite and zoom out, the plugin is working perfectly. Let me try a USA address. I’m gonna use the address of the DMV in my town just to be random.

OK, well, that worked. I had a theory that somewhere along the line the Galápagos map was choking on the diacritical that I put in there. This theory is borne of LONG experience. (Headsup: In Spanish, the absence of the diacritical is considered a spelling error, but they are much cooler about such things than we are.) But nope, knowing that you actually *can* specify the zoom it worked fine. I wish those zoom numbers were more meaningful but that’s Google’s fault, not Jillian’s. I can never remember the range of acceptable values, nor whether 1 is completely zoomed out or completely zoomed in. There may still be issues with non Latin character sets. Compared to Chinese, an accented a is pretty tame. Whatever, I think this is quite a handy version 0.9 plugin because it makes embedding google maps much easier. Jill has implemented the zoom parameter but I guess it needs to be more forward in the documentation. Obvious additional tweaks would be parameters to control the size of the map and fancier options to allow you to overlay your own crap on it, says she who once dorked with the Google maps API to create a venue map with color coded pushpins for each of approximately 400 venues in a local venue database. Note: I linked here to a demo on my own server which only includes a small subset of the actual venues. :)

7 comments to Ms. Burrows’ Mapworks WordPress Plugin

  • Thanks for featuring the plugin!

    The plugin does have an option for zoom, I’d suggest playing around with it: mapworks name=”Isla Santa Cruz” address=”Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, Ecuador” zoom=”6″

    I noticed that the address you have for that island is showing up properly, there is just no map data, zoom out and you’ll see the whole island. You can also select the satellite view and see yourself hovering right over it. This makes me think someone should add an option to change the default map type (maybe me).

    As for supporting non-English spellings, that is a tweak that has to be done by adding more logic to handling the response from Google (“Did you mean?” type prompt). I’m sure that wouldn’t take much to do, it would also help general usability and debugging. I’ve also got to fix the lat=”?” lng=”?” feature of the plugin too. Yes, the internationalization of the plugin text needs some help too.

    Size of map is a CSS change. You can override it globally, but perhaps I could make it add inline CSS to support that option.

  • Colleen

    I stand corrected and I’ve updated the post. I was just giving this a peripheral once over, playing the part of the naive user (not too hard for me actually, as I really am pretty stupid.)

    Since your purpose in writing the plugin is to make it moronically easy to embed maps, I think a parameter to cause it to generte inline CSS to do the sizing is just the thing. That’s how the interface of my venue map did things.

    Maybe I’ll even delve into the code to see about overlaying custom markers, routes, lines, etc.

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