Putting embedded Google Maps to work on IPY.org

That was easy: As of a few minutes ago, all georeferenced posts on IPY.org have a little embedded Google map besides them, showing you immediately what place the post is referring to. Before, we just linked through to a large Google Maps instance — we still do that, but embedding a map directly makes it all so much more playful.


(Link to post)

(Easy, because in the content management system we use we already have filled-in text fields for latitude, longitude, and a place name, so we just plugged those values into the <iframe> code as part of the template.)

I had to tweak the provided code a little to get my way: The left-hand column on IPY.org is only 240 pixels wide, so I squeezed the map to fit. Unfortunately, there is no way (that I know of) of just getting a placemark to show without the popup on an embedded map. The popup is too wide for this narrow map, so I had to opt for no popup and no placemark. Still, you can always click through to the big map, where the location is precisely marked.

Another little quirk I discovered with Google Maps: On Antarctica, you might have some very high resolution imagery and some very low resolution imagery, but nothing in between: If you hard-code the zoom level of your map, your view may fall between those two chairs, as happened on this post. Just keep on zooming in to see some very high resolution imagery of the Antarctic base in question, though you’d never know the imagery was there until you get to it.

That is is one way in which Google Maps’s image dataset differs from Google Earth’s. I don’t how big a technical challenge it would be, but it would be cool if embedded Google Maps could automatically guard against “over-zooming” of this kind, perhaps as an option you can turn on as a URL parameter. Another alternative: Filling in the gaps in those intermediate layers!

BTW, you can see all georeferenced IPY.org posts as KML here. That’s just another template using the coordinates to produce KML.

2 thoughts on “Putting embedded Google Maps to work on IPY.org”

  1. How are you dealing with the security parameter “s” that each embedded map needs? You can’t just adjust the embedding parameters arbitrarily.

    Have you reversed engineered the algorithm to come up with “s” – or are you utilizing Google’s server to do the calculation for you?

  2. If you specify the latitude and longitude and the zoom level, Google Maps does the rest. At least so far:-)

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