View the cyclotram map in a larger map

So here's the master Google Map for this humble blog, showing places I've done posts about, if you'd rather browse by location instead of by time. Each placemark links back to the original blog post, and many of them even include cute little image thumbnails.

What you see here is a work in progress; ideally posts would show up automagically on this map if they'd been geotagged. It's not quite there yet, but I'm making progress. I started out with a plain vanilla Google map that I had to update by hand, which was a maintenance headache on the rare occasions where I remembered to update it. The second attempt involved an embedded map pointed at the RSS feed for this humble blog, which was basically automagical but only displayed placemarks for the most recent posts, if I remembered to geotag them at the time I posted them. What you see here is the third attempt. It works something like this:

  1. Export blog to a ginormous 8mb XML file (Atom+GeoRSS), via the "Export blog" button on your Blogger dashboard
  2. Convert to KML. This step will go much faster when I have a working XSLT to convert GeoRSS to KML. This time around it was sort of an experiment so I did it piecemeal fashion with a bit of old-sk00l sed & awk magic.
  3. Load file in Google Earth to make sure it looks ok, go "Ooh" & "Aah" as appropriate.
  4. Upload the file to somewhere on the interwebs (optional)
  5. Import file into the "My Maps" part of Google Maps, repeat "Ooh" & "Aah" steps if you're easily impressed.
  6. Embed map on website, via the "Link" button.
  7. Create list of steps explaining what you did, which you're reading right now. Make ironic self-referential comments as appropriate.

In short, many Bothans died to bring you this embedded map. And it's still not ideal for a couple of reasons. First, even when converting to KML becomes a smooth process, I'll still have to export the blog manually and then run the conversion. Ok, sure, that could be done with a cron job and some wget & XSLT magic, but the map wouldn't include anything newer than the last time the cron job ran, so that's not a perfect answer. Second, this embedded map is currently static & needs to be reimported each time after you regenerate the KML. So there's still some room for improvement.

If you'd rather play around with the KML file in Google Earth, you can grab it from here. I've experimented with embedding a Google Earth gadget here so you can enjoy the tasty 3D goodness, but I haven't convinced it to display my KML yet. Plus the Google Earth browser plugin seems to be a bit of a cpu & memory hog, which I guess is understandable considering what it does. So I may or may not do that even if I get it to work.

Meanwhile, I'm playing around with a new version that uses Google's new Maps Engine thingy. Here's what it looks like so far: