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NC for Hire

Just made an updated tutorial for Mapping your Network Members.. check it out!

This is a follow-up discussion to the Design Hack which I posted 2 days ago, as promised.
If you've been looking for a way to map your members on the ning platform but have been pulling your hair out waiting on members to ADD THEMSELVES to the member map application, this is the work around for you.   You can find the finished product on the front page (and every page) of Land Surveyors United as well as the Surveyors Member Map Page.
Keep These Things in Mind:
  • The only way this will work is if you have a question in your profile questions which asks for exact location, geodetic coordinates or similar.
  • This will have to be reprocessed in the following fashion EVERYTIME you want to update your map
  • This will only work as a top level admin or NC
  • Its best to have a Gmail or Google Account to complete this tutorial, so get one if you do not have already.
  • In a follow up post I will show you how to give your members custom icons..
Step One:  Export your member data from the member moderation page in dashboard
Step Two:  Import that .CSV file to Google Docs- make sure that ALL COLUMNS HAVE DATA IN THEM because if you have too many empty cells in the spreadsheet, it will not process in the next step.
Step Three:  Head over to Mapalist.com and set up an account using the same Google/Google Docs account used in step 2.  Create a map and when prompted, choose the spreadsheet that you used in step 2.  Follow all of the instructions on Mapalist.com in order to convert the spreadsheet into a map with geolocations.
Step Four:  View/Manage the map you just made-grab the embed code and add it to a page on your network. (See figure 1)
Step Five:  Download the KML file which is at the bottom of the generated map, meant for Google Earth.
Step Six: Go to Google Maps while still logged into your google account and Create a Map which will be added to your "My Maps" section.  Now Import that KML file from step Five into that map which you've just started and named.
Step Seven:  You now have all of your members plotted on a google map, now look on the right hand side of the map and click "Link to This"-under it you will see customize this embed code.  A new screen will open.  Choose the correct size that you would like for your map to be and the embed code will be generated for you to embed in your network.  (see figure 2)
Now look at what you just made....aren't you a genius!


FIGURE 1

FIGURE 2

If you like this workaround, please do me a favor.  Call up every land surveyor that you personally know and ask them to please join Land Surveyors United as we are the best solution for a land surveyor when it comes to trouble shooting problems in the field.  Land Surveyors NEED Land Surveyors United.  Thanks and Enjoy!

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  • NC for Hire
    Neat stuff. Thank you for sharing.
  • NC for Hire
    no problem garfield..
  • I've done the same basic thing in a manner that skips the KML requirement entirely.

    I use Google Docs' "FORM" feature to record addresses (in our case, 311 reports), then I link the corresponding spreadsheet to a map on MAPCHANNELS.COM -- a free mapping service which lets you customize your maps in oodles of ways, including multiple layers, custom "Loading..." graphic, automatic data refresh, etc.. (It's just as easy to map data point, lines and polygons contained within an existing MyMaps on Google Maps, which is a great option offering collaboration as well...)

    So, as each new entry comes in, my MapChannels map updates itself! I could even include such a map on a "Page" within my Ning network, as I've done after mapping all of my neighborhood's WiFi spots (fun project!), and -- love this part -- the map is 100% interactive just like Google Maps (searchable with Zoom, Street View options and custom placemarks, as well as a Sidebar with descriptive text and so on).

    Just sayin'.... Both methods have a slight learning curve, but thank goodness sites like these have taken so much of the hassle out of mapping!!
    • Looks promising! Just wondering how users can easily determine their X and Y location coordinates and enter these into the google-form. Any advice?

      Also interested to know how you present the form among the profile questions on your site.
  • NC for Hire
    Hey nerlander, is this what you are looking for? it converts lat/long
    • Thanks Justin,
      Actually not really.. What I imagine to be user-friendly would be pin-pointing your house/town on Google Maps (for example) and thereby having the coordinates automatically populate the form. Does this make sense?
      • Perhaps not necessary for you to go to all that trouble, esp. not if your addresses are already contained in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Because one function Google offers can Geocode any well-formed address or ZIP code and gives results in latitude/longitude (plus a couple of other parameters ... a total of 4 columns/fields).
        If you are interested, when I get back to my main computer, I can post an example. It's cake.
        • Many thanks TimG. Yes - I would greatly appreciate an example! Also still wondering how all this would integrate with profile-questions...
          • NC for Hire
            TimG's tip is actually similar to what i was going to suggest, along with this site which has a few useful tools for mapping When you are in google spreadsheets and have your CSV uploaded, add a column to the sheet and look for Insert>Spreadsheet Gadget and search for a gadget like "geocoder" or similar and what it will do is geocode addresses for a specified column for you. After you've got that column populated, then map the spreadsheet. I believe that Batchgeo.com offers a similar functionality within its native tools as well. Hope this helps
            • Hi JFarrow,

              This is a great tip. and its very simple for amateurs like me :)  

              Is it possible to "automate" this activity? Something which picks up addresses from the ning member profile details, feeds to the excel sheet resulting the map gadget getting updated automatically along with the embedded map on ning network.

              More of a wishlist I guess. :)

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