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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
NewBeetle.org Members:

We are preparing a member map which will visually show the locations of NewBeetle.org members. In order to do this, we need to gather the zip codes of USA members and also determine who wishes to be included.

To include yourself, please go to the Edit Profile page.

If you wish to be included in the map, you must select "Yes" to "Include me on the map?" at the very bottom of the page. USA residents must also input their zip code (just above the "Include me?" option).

We'll let you know when we've got a map going. It may be a few weeks, may be a few days -- we're sort of in "unknown territory" here, so we don't know quite how long it's going to take us. But we'll get there!

Thanks!
 

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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #5
neko said:
Done ... just curioisity, but is the Map built dynamically ? For example if I go in a road trip with my notebook and I update my position will the map reflect that ?
We haven't gotten quite that far yet. I think the data parsing will be too great to build it dynamically. We'll probably end up doing it on some interval -- nightly, weekly, that sort of thing.

Here's an interesting tidbit: Google maps requires latitude and longitude data (it doesn't take city names, zip codes, etc.). Therefore, we have to convert everyone's city name or zip code to latitude and longitude. The database of locations for this conversion (called "geocoding") is over 1GB in size! 1GB of nothing but text, which will be in a database on our server. So, parsing through 1GB of text on every map request is probably out of the question.
 

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Caliente!
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jcroft said:
Here's an interesting tidbit: Google maps requires latitude and longitude data (it doesn't take city names, zip codes, etc.). Therefore, we have to convert everyone's city name or zip code to latitude and longitude. The database of locations for this conversion (called "geocoding") is over 1GB in size! 1GB of nothing but text, which will be in a database on our server. So, parsing through 1GB of text on every map request is probably out of the question.
Why not just have everyone fill in their own geocode?
 

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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #7
Dede said:
Why not just have everyone fill in their own geocode?
Not a bad idea -- do you know your geocode? I sure don't!
 

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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #9
Dede said:
It's easy to find out if you don't. http://geocoder.us/
True, true. I just think that's a lot to ask of people when they register for this site. I'd rather it be easier on them. But that's definitely a possibility if we can't do our own geocoding -- but so far, I'm thinking we can pull it off. It's just a little more work.
 

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The NC Cat
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399 Posts
jcroft said:
We haven't gotten quite that far yet. I think the data parsing will be too great to build it dynamically. We'll probably end up doing it on some interval -- nightly, weekly, that sort of thing.

Here's an interesting tidbit: Google maps requires latitude and longitude data (it doesn't take city names, zip codes, etc.). Therefore, we have to convert everyone's city name or zip code to latitude and longitude. The database of locations for this conversion (called "geocoding") is over 1GB in size! 1GB of nothing but text, which will be in a database on our server. So, parsing through 1GB of text on every map request is probably out of the question.
Or, you could add longitude and latitude to the User Profile, mine is

lat=37.3181
lon=-122.0448

I realize not all users would be able to add it but the ones who can would save you some time. Now, this is how I did get the lat and lon from my desk WITHOUT a GPS receiver:

1] go to http://maps.yahoo.com
2] enter your zip code.
3] when you see the map click on a point of the map where you are (or you would like your baloon be shown)
4] as the map get redrawn look at the url generated, there are a bunch of info but one is latitude and longitude:

this is mine for example:

maps.yahoo.com/maps_result?name=&addr=&state=CA&csz=Cupertino%2C+CA+95014&ds=n&uzip=95014&mag=4&desc=&country=US&dma=807&cat=dine&resize=l&trf=0&lat=37.3181&lon=-122.0448&mlt=37.3181&mln=-122.0448&rezoom=0&.intl=us&addrtype=4&compass=&i_ov=1&appid=&pan_x=356&pan_y=222&panable=1

you see "lat=37.3181&lon=-122.0448" just in the middle.

It sounds complicate but it is really simple. For curiosiry, before GPS navigation became so popular I wrote an application for an handheld that would gather the lat and lon from a GPS receiver (hig end stuff at the time), wirelessy connect to internet and from yahoo get the map centered on your position. This was 1998 :) Nothing happened of that project (in 1998 wireless internet was SLOW) but I learned that you can get yahoo maps with latitude and longitude only :)
:)
 

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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #13
Guys...

I know we COULD add latitude/longitude to the profile, but why? When someone is trying to register to join NewBeetle.org, I don't really want to avert them off to geocoders.us or maps.yahoo.com. I want them to stay right here, finish joining, and start participating. Going to another site and finding your geocode may seem very simple to you, but web usability studies have shown that this is exactly the kind of thing that will turn a person off from joining the site at all.

I appericate the suggestion, but there's just no need for it. We can easily do the geocoding for the members based on their zip code. I'm for making things as easy and user-friendly as possible. If we can do it for them, I don't see why we shouldn't.

Also, I much prefer the idea of the points on the map being the center point of a zip code (via our zip code geocoding) than being an exact, pin-point location of your house. I don't really want to get blamed the first time Naplesbear breaks into someone's house because of this map.
 

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DIESL PWR
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354 Posts
What? Already? The Google Map API thing was just discussed, and you're already working on it? Jeff, you're moving at the speed of light lately :bigthumb:
 

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Co-pilot wanted
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Why not just add the lat/long fields do the profile data but not have it entered by the user? Have the server figure it out using the zip code they have in there. This way you could have the map just read the lat/long info, and the only time a 1GB text would have to be parsed is when someone added/changed their zip code.
 
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