Pods + maps

Someone is asking about some difficult MySQL mapping stuff, I don’t understand it, but I do know of a relatively easier way to get custom post types, such as those created by Pods, onto a map in WordPress. I built this for Live Work Oakland, so I remembered the steps, and I sat down and cranked this out in about 30 minutes: Pods + Geo Mashup.

The CPT is called Location, and has three additional meta fields added: Address, City, and Zip Code. The issue folks were having in the forum thread was how to show it on a map, and for that I used another (terrific) plugin, Geo Mashup. One of the settings for that plugin is this ingenious reverse geocoding feature, which will construct the address from an array of fields you designate. This screenshot shows how it is configured on the lab site:


The map page is just the map shortcode showing all posts with location data (the lab site is configured to only show the Location post type, but you can be creative with it). For LWO I built it into the theme, so it shows on individual listings automatically. Check the documentation, it is a pretty nifty plugin!

If you want to try it out, add a location! That bit is done with Gravity Forms and an add-on plugin that allows you to save it to custom post types. I only included a few address fields, so some locations may not show up correctly on the map, but this is only a demo. Also, you’d want to show the custom fields on the individual location posts, but that is a different tutorial. If you don’t want to mess with a lot of custom coding, these plugins can do the heavy lifting for ya. ^_^

Here is the Location custom post type export from Pods: location.pods (copy the contents of the file and import, or just add the three fields yerself!)

Plugins used:


The Wikimedia Foundation has launched a prototype of a visual editor, to be used on Wikipedia, and as part of MediaWiki. You can check it out on the VisualEditor namespace on the MediaWiki site.

This is exciting, because their effort could make editing articles easier for more people. It was really depressing when I realized that nearly everyone I know is aware of Wikipedia, but has never edited it, or seen wikitext. In an amazing example of contextual privilege, I had just assumed that everyone made little edits to Wikipedia, or had wikae on their personal sites.

I’ve been playing around with LocalWiki for a while, in part because it focuses on two areas that are useful, a WYSIWYG interface and mapping. When I found out about this project I thought that it would be great for nearly all of my clients, because they all have members that can benefit from collective knowledge, especially geo-data.

It is difficult, though, because I am generally bothered by visual editors. When I install WordPress for folks (and I host over a dozen instances for my tribe), the first thing I advise is to turn off the visual editor. I equate it to speaking well, instead of good. You will be able to share your ideas, but you won’t fully understand how it is published, which is empowering in ways that most people won’t understand until it clicks.

My goal, then, is to encourage people to use sites that have a aggregate benefit, like a wiki, while also providing training in digital literacy.

It always goes back to digital literacy. ^_^

Addendum (2012-06-23): Mark pointed me to a message that links to a test wiki where the editor uses EtherPad for collaborative editing. I’ve used the embedded EtherPad into MediaWiki for writing fiction with my peeps, so this is an interesting take on it. Further down the thread it was mentioned that someone is working on collaborative editing in the visual editor. Neat stuff!

TransportationCamp West

TransportationCamp West is happening on March 19-20 in San Francisco. I plan to attend. It is an unconference about “transportation and technology”, two of my favorite things. It’s free, but there is a wait list, now.

Since nearly all of my clients are location-based community organizations, a lot of the things I will build this year have to do with mapping and using data that is useful in a locative context. So, I have a lot of hopes that I will get some leads or meet some interesting people to hack with there.

I am a total n00b at mapping, only understanding the basic ideas behind it. However, I am pretty good at unconferences, so I think that I will be fine; I am do well when asking strangers lots of questions. ^_^

If you are going, ping me somehow. We can meet up sometime over the weekend, or BART over together!