Friday, December 03, 2010

Mastering MyMaps

The first custom map I created using Google MyMaps shows the location of mills in Wing. Over at the One Place Studies website I created a map showing the location of each one place study listed. This was intended to make it easier to identify neighbouring one place studies, which of course could be across county or country borders. I hit a small snag, though, when I got to the 201st study - after 200 markers Google MyMaps paginates the list of markers. The impact of this is that when looking at the embedded map you don't see any markers on the map that aren't on the first page of the marker listings (or, rather, aren't on the same page as the page I happened to be sitting on when I created the link to embed a particular view of the map). This was really disappointing as it destroyed the whole purpose of the maps.

After much wailing, this has now been fixed, and in case I ever have the same problem (or anyone else out there has the same problem) I thought I would document the process. I figured this out thanks to helpful posts on the Google MyMaps support forum which lead me to here and here.

Firstly, I had to combine the two existing maps I had created, England and non-England, back into a single map. For those wrestling with their own MyMaps, you need to Edit the source map you want to copy from, right-click on the View In Google Earth link and copy the link location, then go into the destination map, Edit and Import.

Secondly, I had to re-order the markers on the newly combined map back in the order I wanted them in and save the new map. Random isn't such a good option going forward should I ever need to find and edit a marker!

Thirdly, Edit the new map and copy the Google Earth link location for it, then paste that into the Search Maps box up the top and click on Search Maps. What this essentially does is enable you to see a virtual dynamic copy of your original map, without paginating the markers, that automatically updates when your underlying saved MyMap is updated.

Fourthly, while you have the virtual map open (and without saving it), you can then use the usual Link options to create the link to embed the desired map view into your webpage. Should you need to create any new embedded links at a future date you can repeat the third and fourth step to access the virtual map again.

The really good news is that doing all that seems to have fixed the glitch whereby the links in most of the markers weren't opening up in the whole webpage - but now they do! This problem was quite frustrating as it meant that anyone using those links weren't actually getting to the website they wanted to visit and could only view it in a comparatively small window. It also gave the impression that the information in those studies was part of the One Place Studies index site which was the last thing I wanted - everyone working on a one place study deserves their due credit for their hard work in providing that resource!

If you haven't checked out the One Place Studies website yet, take a look and see if anyone is working on a study for any of your ancestral places. If you have your own genealogy website, how might Google MyMaps help illustrate what you are doing?


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