Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gaga over Google Maps

I gotta admit it, I'm hooked on Google Maps, specifically its API. I've seen the maps of Hongkong's MTR system and with it you can practically plan your trips down to the nearest entry and exit points.

Cebu of the Philippines is likewise a destination for many. Although several travel guides featuring Cebu abound on the web, maps are seldom employed to aid those needing directions. With the availability of rooftop-level satellite imagery offered by Google Maps, I decided to overlay Cebu's streets and places of interest with markers. To spice up the pages, I interspersed local info with impressive photos at Panoramio and Flickr courtesy of camera enthusiasts.

Before I forget, let me introduce you to Cebumapia - a Google Map mashup of Cebu's places of interest! And shall I add, always a Work In Progress!

I've started with markers, or should I say.. I planned to use only markers. But as complexity started to evaporate, I found myself twiddling with infowindows and polylines to spruce things up. After the 30th or so marker in place, I realized I barely scratched the surface... so many markers, so little time! I needed an easier way to add and modify map objects without further mangling the html and javascript code of my Blogger template.

Google Docs to the rescue! By migrating the coordinates, waypoints and even descriptions into Google spreadsheets, I can now change map info even without having to log into Blogger. Hmmm... I'm now thinking of letting visitors add their own sites so I don't have to do anything at all!

I've learned a lot of new things already while building this site. Enjoy it as much as I did... or still do.

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