Christian Heilmann

Posts Tagged ‘placemaker’

Geo this! A Chrome plug-in to turn any web site into a map

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I’ve just started playing with Google Chrome Extensions heavily inspired by Mark Wubben’s talk at SWDC and of course the first thing I build is something to do with geographical locations.

Geo This! adds a little Earth icon to Chrome that, when pressed, analyses the page and shows a map of the locations it found in the text. If you highlight a part of the page first you only get the locations in this section. Click the screenshot below to go to the download site:

Geo This! A chrome plugin to turn any web site (or highlighted text) into a map

You can also see the extension in action in the following screencast:

Under the hood the extension is more or less a port of my addmap.js hack which in turn works most of its magic by using Yahoo Placemaker and YQL. The source code of the extension is available on GitHub.

Things that will come in future versions are:

  • Fixing the problem that Google Maps only numbers the first 10 markers on the static maps APIv1.0
  • More details on the found locationsv1.0
  • Ability to save the map and locations as an image
  • Better icons (anyone can paint me one?) – right now I am using one of the Project Icons by Mihaiciuc Bogdan and cruelly resized it in Skitch

What do you think?

YQL Geo Library and Introduction to Geo Hacking talk

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I am right now in Atlanta, Georgia for the Georgia Tech University Hack and one of the hot technologies we want to have students hack on is geolocation. To this end, I have given a talk on geo hacking:

As a follow-up to the talk and to make it easier for students to build geo hacks rather than battling the different APIs, I’ve put together a small JavaScript library that fulfills a lot of geo hacking needs:

  • Detecting the visitor’s location with the W3C geo API and with IP as a fallback
  • Find geo location from text
  • Find location from lat/lon pair
  • Find locations in a certain web document (by URL)
  • Get the location for a certain IP number

Check out the YQL Geo Library demo page and get the YQL Geo Library source on GitHub.

Adding map links and a small map to any text using JavaScript – addmap.js

Friday, January 29th, 2010

As part of a larger article, I am currently building some tools that use geographical information. The first one is a pure JavaScript solution to link locations in a text to Google Maps and to show a small map under the text. You can see it in action by clicking the screenshot below.

Analyse text and add a map with its locations in pure JavaScript by  you.

All you need to do to use the script is get your own Google Maps key and embed the script in the page you want to analyse, giving it the ID of the main text element as a parameter:

You can customise the look and feel by writing your own CSS for the generated HTML and setting the addmap.config.width and addmap.config.height properties to resize the map.

Under the hood here is what happens:

The code of addmap.js is available on GitHub.

Find, mix and show web data – a talk at the YDN developer evening in Madrid, Spain

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Monday I was in Madrid for a developer evening at ETSI Telecomunicacion. The hosting university had a very cool auditorium, but what really amazed me was that it is in part a museum for telecommunication which means the whole building was full of old comms hardware – something I really dig.

Anyways, my talk for the developer evening was a deep-dive into Yahoo Placemaker, YQL and YUI. Here are the slides:

You can also listen to the audio recording of the talk hosted on

If you want to see the video of the talk (which uses Isabel, the university’s conferencing system) you can check the recording on the university web site.

GeoMaker update – new features and source available on GitHub

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Over the course of the weekend I finished polishing GeoMaker and uploaded the source to GitHub. So now you can use GeoMaker or its API and also host them on your own server.

The new features include:

  • Embedding of Geo microformats into a text when originally you wanted to analyse a text and intermediate text display.
  • Turning RSS feeds into maps (much like RSS2Map) with an intermediate filtering step
  • Total re-code (includes instead of one massive chunk, configuration and labels file)
  • Help and About and Developer docs

See the changes in action in the following screencast (the design of the RSS preview has changed since – more obvious now):

The next steps will be to allow for multiple map providers. Got any other ideas?