A few days ago Blogger announced a new feature: Geotagging. I thought this would be great for geneabloggers and in my case specifically I could use it to tag the locations mentioned in my family's letters. The Graveyard Rabbit's could certainly make good use of this too. So on Friday I started playing with it.
This new feature is available only in Blogger in Draft, which I had stopped using some time ago when I became frustrated with the way it uploads pictures.
There is a new "add location" link below the post editor box, just to the left of Labels.When you click on it a box pops up and you simply enter the location you for your post. If it can't find the location you entered it asks you to try a new query. So when I entered "Phoenix Rural Cemetery, Phoenix, NY" I got the try a new query message but putting in the street address, "Chestnut St, Phoenix, NY" brought up the map. After you publish your post there is now a link which takes you to the map at Google Maps. Easy enough!
There are a few of drawbacks that I've found. You can only tag a single location for each post so I can only tag either where a letter was written or where it was sent to but not both. Once you add a location
Whenever I try something new in Blogger I try it first on a test blog I have created. After playing there I felt the new feature worked well enough to try here. I went back to the beginning of the latest series of letters and tagged away. After tagging several I went and looked at the republished posts and the location information was not showing up at the end of the posts as it had on the test blog. This caused a string of very unladylike invective!
When I decided I wanted a three column blog I found one I liked at Blogcrowds. Pure laziness on my part. Back when the embedded comment feature came out I switched and no one could comment because I was using a modified template. This notice is on the Blogger Geotagging post:
If you have a customized template and you don't see the "Location:" byline, you may need to reset your blog's widget template.I am not willing to reset my widget template to the default for fear it will mess up something else. But wait! It worked perfectly on my test blog, which has the same template!
Have I mentioned that looking at lines of code makes my head hurt? If I had more than half a clue as to what I was looking for it would have taken much less time to figure out. The new feature adds a new line 3 to the post-footer. On the test blog it installed correctly but on this blog, for reasons still unclear to me, it added the line with no directions. By copying the correct code from the test blog and pasting it over the abbreviated code here I was able to get it to work correctly. If you are html challenged like me and need the correct code let me know.
There is also a widget you can add to show a map of your locations on your sidebar. Again my results varied between the two blogs. On the test blog everything worked just as it should, the map showed multiple locations and I decided to go ahead and add it here. Here is the map I got.
FeedBurner and it just took longer to update.
When you mouse over the map or click on a pin it shows you the name of the post represented by the pin and provides a link to the specific post. That's great but the problem for me is that many posts are tagged for the same location but there is only one link for each location. (I didn't tag them in any specific order but I think it shows the one you tagged first for each location.) So if you go back and tag posts think carefully about which post you tag first if you have several for the same location. I wish I had tagged my post introducing the series of letters first. This would be OK if you have lots of different locations.
I have not been able to bring up my map at Google Maps, there is some issue with the GeoRss that is beyond me but if they work it out it would be great to add it to "My Maps." I also cannot embed the map as as part of a post, at least I don't think I can.
Having a location and map link on each post is good in and of itself but I would really like someone to be able to find my posts through the geotag, after all that is the point of tagging, isn't it? If someone can explain how that is done I'd be most grateful.
If you like experimenting with new things go ahead and play with this. Otherwise tread carefully and know that there may be other glitches I have yet to discover. I have heard from other bloggers that are having difficulty with this and I hope to do a follow up in the future.