A Guest post from Lisa Newton by Lisa Newton Travelin’ Local
My business website is a hyper-local niche online lifestyle magazine, Travelin’ Local, where I features countless walking and bike riding maps, including a judicious quantity of photos to accompany my stories for the area that we specialize in, which includes Los Angeles and environs.
Eager to figure out and learn how to Geo-Tag my walks, I was amazed at the lack of information and knowledge regarding the how’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, why’s, and who’s, as it pertains to this technology and how to integrate it into stories, blogs, and websites. So, I took matters into my own hands and learned the old fashioned way; by investigation, experimentation, and implementation.
The first stop on my learn-by-doing adventure was, of course, the king of maps, Google.
Simply put, I would walk a route, and keep copious notes of the streets I was walking, the turns I made, or the landmarks I saw along the way.
While taking pictures at the same time, my goal is to obtain the best possible visual record of where I’m going, and where I’ve been. Sometimes, I would just shoot the street sign to avoid the interruption between story and record keeping, as well as having to not write anything down.
After I got home, I’d pull up my Google Maps and create a new map based on whatever particular story I was working on. You need to have a Google account in order to create a map, but that’s a snap to set up.
Once you have an account, go to My Maps and “Create a Map.”
moves the map around
creates a place marker. By using the dropdown menu, you are offered many choices for this icon.
the third and final option is the best of all. With its line tool dropdown list, Google provides several methods for mapping your route:
- Draw a line, which allows you to draw any type of line anywhere on your map
- Draw a line along roads: Just as the name suggests, the tool follows lines along established roads. Here it pays to mark your route by clicking often. Sometimes, Google tends to have a mind of its own.
- Draw a shape: If you need to map an area rather than a route, this freehand tool allows for that.
Once you determine which tool suits your purpose, you’re ready to start creating.
After you get your route done, the fun part starts by adding points of interest, photos, comments, information, links, and any other necessary information to create the story you want your readers to enjoy.
Within the place marker box, Google gives you three options to take advantage of:
- Plain text which is just as it reads; you type and it appears
- Rich text parallels WYSIWYG, giving you the ability to add images, make font changes, and add bullets, etc., to your place maker. If you’re not an expert at coding, which is where I tend to live, this tool is a lifesaver.
- Edit HTML allows you to get behind the scenes, so to speak, and change the coding or add coding as you deem fit.
Basically, if you’re skilled at coding, you can create a webpage for each place maker.
As far as geotagging your pictures within Google Maps, it’s a totally manual project. You place the marker where the photo was taken, and when you hit the image icon, an html box pops up. Each picture is uploaded via the Rich text tool, so each picture has to have its own URL. When I add pictures to Google Maps, I upload them to my blog first, cut and paste the URL, and then add them to Google.
Once you finish your map, the best part is that you can now embed it into your site, or share the link with friends:
View Hollywood Walk of Fame in a larger map
It’s a time consuming process, but one well worth the effort. I love sharing my walks with my readers, and Google Maps is one way to do that.
What experience have you had with Google Maps?
Lisa Newton is the publisher of the online lifestyle magazine Travelin’ Local. Along with her passion for writing and photography, she loves discovering new places to go and sights to see in Los Angeles.