Thursday, April 10, 2014

Now Supporting The New Google Sheets: Upgrade Steps for Legacy Users

Howdy.

Just a quick post to announce we recently launched support for the new Google Sheets -- I think they were previously called Google Spreadsheets, but alas, the new name and UI are more aerodynamic...

MapAList has recently been updated to support the new Google Sheets.

To harness these new features, one must re-authorize MapAList's access to one's Google Docs.  (Note: This is only required for legacy users.)

Take no action and only (the old) Google Spreadsheets will be supported. Follow the steps below, to keep up with the Joneses, and  be able to map from the new Google Sheets, as well as the old format.

Steps:
1) Go to mapalist.com and log in
2) Go to MapAList's Google Auth Page
3) Click "Accept" on the Google page to enable MapAList to use your Google Sheets on your behalf
3.5) 10 push-ups, because if you don't have your health...
4) Try creating your map again
5) Let us know how you fared

What you are doing is switching your account from AuthSub (the way we previously accessed users' spreadsheets) to OAuth2 (the new way), and the new way should enable the new Google Sheets to work in MapAList.

Good luck, and please let us know how it goes.

Cheers,
Brian

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Allow your Member/User Base to Add Pins to your Map Using Google Forms

As the MapAList user base has grown over the past couple of years, one of the things we’ve noticed is that we have a ton of organizations leveraging our toolset to map their member/user bases. Religious organizations use MapAList to track their congregations; alumni associations use MapAList to track their members; campaigns and non-profits use MapAList to track their supporters/donors…you get the point.

The reason I bring this up is because a few of these organizations have gotten smart and realized that they could push the work of updating their maps out to the user based directly using Google Forms. It’s like self check-out at the grocery store – the users love it because they are empowered (and because it’s a novelty to scan those barcodes) and so does the store because it reduces labor.

Sounds cool – right? Well, implementing such a solution on your site with MapAList is not terribly difficult. Those folks at Google have made Google Forms easy to design and feed to a Google Spreadsheet. We at MapAList have made it easy to transform that Google Spreadsheet into a map.

Here’s the process – step by step – to make it happen…

Create a Google Form

The form creation process can be done in 1 of 2 ways – either you can create your spreadsheet and then create a form based on that spreadsheet (recommended) or you can create the form from scratch. For our purposes, let’s focus on the former.

1. Go ahead and create a new Google Spreadsheet like you would normally do – from Google Documents simply click on Create New and then select Spreadsheet.

2. Add header columns that you would like users to fill in to support the mapping process (e.g. name, address, city, state, zip, etc.). Also add at least 1 record - perhaps existing data that you have or your contact information.

3. Save your Spreadsheet and give it a name.

4. On the toolbar, click on Form and select Create a Form

At this point, Google should present you with a very basic looking Google Form that contains the columns that were on your Spreadsheet.

5. Edit your form as you see fit. You can do a lot of things with the form – such as add a theme, edit the “type” of each field, make fields mandatory. I’m not going to go into all of the details associated with this process as our friends at Google have already done that here: http://docs.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?topic=15166

6. Once you feel good about your form, go ahead and save it by clicking on the Save button in the upper right hand corner.

7. Embed the your new Google Form in your Website

Google makes this process pretty easy. All you have to do is click on More Actions and select Embed. Google will then present you with the HTML required to embed the form you have created into your website.

And we’re done...now all you have to do is create a map in MapAList that uses the Spreadsheet you created for this process and embed that in your website as well (see working form and map below - feel free to add your info if you like).

A couple things to keep in mind when using Google Forms to feed your MapAList spreadsheet:

1. You’re relying on the user to input correct information – if they make an error you’ll have to fix it within the spreadsheet, so taking a look every once in a while is probably good practice.

2. Pins will not show up immediately after a user enters their information due to the fact that the MapAList auto-update process runs overnight. I’d suggest that you make it clear to your users that this is the case. Otherwise they will enter their info, not see it immediately reflected on the map, enter it again, get frustrated, and leave the site. You will, in turn have multiple entries in your spreadsheet for the same user along with someone who is frustrated. Neither of these things are good. Note that you can always go to the Manage page in MapAList and update your map "on demand" in order to see information that has been entered into the form show up on the map prior to the nightly update.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Concentration/Heat Maps Are Here!

Hello MapAList Faithful - it's been a while!

Our most recent release includes a new map type called "Concentration/Heat Map."

This new map type is great for large data sets with many addresses. It essentially creates a map in which the density of color (red) displayed is higher in areas with more addresses.

The creation process is super simple...just choose "Concentration/Heat Map" in step 4 of the mapping process and you're good to go. Check it out:

The rest should be very straightforward with a result that looks like the map you see below (note that I have about 4000 points in my Google Spreadsheet):



Unfortunately, right now Concentration/Heat Maps don't allow you to see actual points on the map or click on them and get a pop up bubble, but if you have a big data set this might be just what you're looking for.

If you have a large data set, give it a go and see what you think...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A MapAList Milestone - 5000 Users!

Roughly 18 months ago we launched MapAList with no publicity whatsoever. Brian, our founder, head developer, and resident visionary, shared his excitement around the solution with friends and family triggering our user base to slowly begin growing.

Within a few months a handful of publications picked up on the simplicity and utility of MapAList and started to help us spread the word. LifeHacker.com was one of the first and gave us a huge boost. A week or so later The Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinal, and The Baltimore Sun featured MapAList in their "How 2" column and things really started to heat up.

From churches and wine distributors to real estate agents and news organizations, our users were finding creative and unique ways to make the most of MapAList.

International press soon followed with articles in Russian, Indian, and French publications just to name a few. An influx of Brazilian users soon made us aware that we had been featured in Info Exame (a highly-popular Brazilian technology magazine). Users all over the world were leveraging MapAList to visualize their lists and share them with their own user bases on the web.

On March 14th, 2009 at 9:53 AM Eastern time, our 5000th user created an account and began visualizing his lists using MapAList.

This marked an incredible milestone for the MapAList team. Thank you all for your enthusiasm around our solution and your excellent questions, comments, and ideas that ultimately make MapAList better.

Also, thank your for your donations - they are much appreciated and help keep our free service afloat. Please keep them coming...



--The Map Commissioner (E-mail)

Do You Live In Atlanta, GA?

If so you should definitely check out our most recent endeavour - an IPhone app called AreYouSafe Atlanta.

AreYouSafe Atlanta lets you know how safe you are at any given time based on your current location within the city. All it takes is a quick tap to see a simple visual depiction of your safely level in addition to hyperlocal crime data broken down by type. Detailed crime statistics for the entire city of Atlanta, GA are pushed through a series of algorithms before producing a relative safety level for your exact geographic location.

Walk/drive/bike/bus/canoe around the city and see your safety status update as you go!

More cities coming soon...



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Do You Live in Washington, DC?


If so you should definitely check out our most recent endeavour - an IPhone app called AreYouSafe DC.

AreYouSafe DC lets you know how safe you are at any given time based on your current location within the city.  All it takes is a quick tap to see a simple visual depiction of your safely level in addition to hyperlocal crime data broken down by type.  Detailed crime statistics for the entire city of Washington, DC are pushed through a series of algorithms before producing a relative safety level for your exact geographic location.

Walk/drive/bike/bus/canoe around the city and see your safety status update as you go!

More cities coming soon...



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Adding Images & IFrames to your Map Points

What are we talking about here?

So let’s say you have a map that depicts all of the countries you have visited.  It’s one thing to have a pin in France and show “Paris, 2008” in the pop up bubble, but it would be a heck of a lot cooler if you could click on that pin and see an image of you next to the Eifel Tower.

Alternatively, maybe you’re looking to provide some information about France to the person looking at the map.  The ability to integrate an IFrame into the pin pop up bubble makes it easy to show the user a fully functional website about French tourism when they click on the pin.

If you followed the couple tutorials that talked about hyperlinks, e-mail and Skype this should be a piece of cake…

 
What does it look like from a spreadsheet perspective?

Just like our last 2 tutorials, the key here is all in the way you enter data into your Google Spreadsheet.  Again, a bit of HTML is all you need.  

Take a look at the second column in the spreadsheet titled Image.  It contains the HTML required to place an image in your pin pop up bubble.

The third column (you will have to scroll right), titled IFrame, contains the HTML required to display an IFrame in your pin pop up bubble.  


Feel free to us the CONCATENATE function to make life easier if you want as explained in the a previous post (Adding Hyperlinks to Your Map Points).

The HTML, while a bit more complex than that needed to produce e-mail and Skype links, is still relatively self explanatory.  In both cases, all you are doing is providing the location of the Image/IFrame.  The IFrame requires some sizing – feel free to play with that to make it appear how you like it. 

You guessed it - from here, all you have to do is assign your fields in Step 2b of the map creation process and you're good to go.  If you have questions feel free to post to the help forum.


What does it look like from a map perspective?

As you might expect, we see the 2 pins plotted on the map below.  When you click on the pin in France you will see an image of the French flag (sorry, I didn’t have a picture of you next to the Eifel Tower).  

Okay, now try clicking on the other pin – which happens to be in Israel.  Give it a second because just like any web page it takes a second to load.  Cool, right – you actually see a website in the bubble with tourist info.



Your toolbox should be starting to fill up now…have fun with it,

--The Map Commissioner (E-mail)