Playing with code-free Google Maps
As promised, I’ve been playing around with coding-free Google Maps by way of Google Spreadsheets and this handy spreadsheet-to-map wizard. Elsewhere on the maps-in-seconds front, I also have been whipping stuff up in Faneuil Media’s Atlas.
Granted, this was time that probably would have been better spent working through the actual Google Maps API. But, in addition to being a bit of fun, my goal was to see whether these point and click tools are easy enough for your typical, non-technical newspaper reporter. Why would this theoretical reporter be interested in creating their own dynamic maps, despite being typically non-technical? Dunno. I just needed a benchmark.
Briefly, the Google Spreadsheets wizard is easy, and Atlas is even easier. Actually, they both are pretty much ridiculously easy. I doubt I’ll get my imagined newspaper reporter lab rat to try any of this, however, as he or she is no doubt off in the break room drinking coffee and, I don’t know, lamenting the demise of stock listings.
If our reporter friend did want to connect their Google Spreadsheet to a map, however, they’d first need to populate latitude and longitude fields. For this bit, I messed around with this tool, which grabs the addresses in your published Google Spreadsheet, and this Google-based batch geocoder. Also, just to step outside the Google-verse, this Yahoo-based batch geocoder.
I was using this little spreadsheet, which lists some places in Florida where I’ve worked. I couldn’t be bothered to embed the map here, so click here for the map generated by the spreadsheet wizard. Or, head over this way for an Atlas-generated map using the same info.