Geotagging blogs

Mikel Maron’s Brain Off blog led me to Zoran Kovacevic and his recent spurt of work converging georeferenced syndicated content with Google Earth.

First up, he posts about an XSL transformation he’s written, RSS2 Google Earth (get it?) that takes an RSS2 feed enhanced with geotags and pumps out a network link for Google Earth. Hopefully, news organizations will soon all tag their RSS feeds with the W3C geo vocabulary, so that converters which turn them into KML will no longer have to guess from the content. This is the future for syndicated content about places.

Then Zoran gets to work on integrating geotags into Serendipity, an open source blog content management system. He’s written a plugin that lets you enter coordinates for a post, and which then publishes them to the blog, links them to Google Maps and includes them into the RSS feed. He’s got a demo running.

Seamlessly connecting blog posts to a location is going to be the next step in collaborative georefencing. We already do it with pictures using Flickr and Panoramio, so why not restaurant reviews, travel posts and diary entries? Such items are greatly enhanced by a link to the actual place coordinates they reference. In this sense, there is little difference between news stories and blog posts — if it’s about a place, the most natural way to search for it is by location. (This is why Google bought Keyhole, of course.)

While we’re on the topic, Grasshoppermind makes the same point, and also underscores the importance of a datestamp for georeferenced content, so that future browsers can chart our creative outpourings not just in space but also on a timeline.

I’ve written before about how I’m waiting for blog tools to get good enough to let us georeference posts, so that we can browse them in Google Earth. Zoran’s tools move us a big step in the right direction. He also inspired me to go check out recent work with plugins for Movable Type, my blog authoring software of choice. And lo, there finally seems to be a plugin Movable Typists have long been waiting for: Customfields. This turns the task of georeferencing blog posts on Movable Type from a programming job to a templating job, and that is something I am definitely up to. Perhaps not this weekend, but soon.

2 thoughts on “Geotagging blogs”

  1. This is exactaly what I’m looking for/trying to do. I think that for travel posts it would be great to generate kml files that are linked to where you were when you posted or where you posted about.

    I had no idea that this stuff was going on, but I will look into further.

    Also thinking about using PhotoLink with a digital camera and a gps unit to get GPS locations of photos – is there another way?

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