In starting this blog we had a couple of simple requirements. We wanted to share pictures and our travel locations on a map with our friends and family. We also wanted to be able to give back or contribute to the information provided by the many who have preceded us. This blog is our first attempt to document the choice of program for our blog.
One of the key areas for the blog was the map. I looked at quite a few and some of the best examples was the work by Technomadia Travel Maps and Wheelingit. Both of these are very thorough studies of the map programs that are out there and able to integrate into WordPress. Check them out they are both very good.
I tried the two they use and also a couple of others that they also studied. The main key feature we wanted was the map tracing and ease of entry. The Nomad World map is a pretty easy to use program but the traces are poly lines and do not follow the road. The
Umap is a good program also but the road traces come from GPX data. This means you have to download the data from a running Garmin GPS or other for the maps to display (at least that is how it appears to me). I was looking for something that would map traces automatically, have different icon capability and be able to parse into different times, types and blog conditions.
One of them I found was the CP Google Map. The program comes with a number of Mapi icons. I am not sure yet what I want to do with them, but think I will differentiate campground types with different colors for different types of camping as some other programs do. Looking up the Mapping Icons used within the CP Maps program there are a number of free downloads you can do. There is even a color editor that can be applied to a group of icons. I used the recreation group that contained the camping icons and regenerated the colors for the whole group. Then using FileZilla connected to my WordPress site I was able to move just the camping color icons to the required directory within the CP Map directory.
One of the differences with the CP Map is that in WordPress the map information is put into the page or blog. There is a separate global settings page in WordPress. This is a different structure than the rest but I think I like it. It allows the location information for each blog post to be self contained. The maps then can be representative of many blogs by category, tag or other meta data. After a little experimentation I found many of the parameters will be easy to use by blog, category and tag name. The below maps are a result of the initial experimentation using tag names as a group of camping types for our initial ‘sea trials’ and then looking to next year the projected starting route to get to Escapades 2017.
The output of using tags in the posts is the following for tag = seatrials. These were the locations we visited for doing our local ‘sea trials’ for working out rv and personal bugs along with figuring out what we wanted.
The output of using tags in the posts is the following for tag = 2017. These are the preliminary example locations where we may go in 2017 as we start our full time journey with the 1st major target being Escapees Escapade 2017 in Tucson.
If everything is left with a cat=-1 parameter then an aggregate map is generated regardless of what is in the blog.
This blog has my current approximate location on it near my sticks rental home.
I am very encouraged that the goals to get the map traces between points automatically and being able to separate the points by blog tag or aggregate categories can be met!