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 XML file (Atom+GeoRSS), via the "Export blog" button on your Blogger dashboard
  2. Convert to KML. I tried this with XSLT first since that's pretty much what XSLT is supposed to be for. Some people swear by it, but I have never been able to get it to do anything at all successfully. So then I cobbled something together with a bit of sed and awk, which worked but was ugly, and trying to handle XML with regexes is bound to be the Way of Sorrow eventually. Ended up writing a little C++/Pugixml tool that handles it reasonably well (since that involved the lowest learning curve for me). I keep meaning to put it on Github at some point, if I ever think it's polished enough to be worth sharing.
  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. I still wish there was a way to have it auto-update when a new post goes live, without losing any placemarks for older posts. This might be doable with a little code in AWS, or maybe Google Cloud if I want to stick with a single predatory monopolist for the whole 'stack'. Dunno, that's an item for future investigation if I ever have that kind of free time again.

If you'd rather play around with the KML file in Google Earth or something else that speaks KML, you can grab it from here now; the address just changed due to a Google Sites update, so in the unlikely event you had it bookmarked before, you'll want to update that.