• Maps
  • Mar21

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    Update March 24, 2016: Looking for some icons 4 years later I realized The Google’s original icon map now displays only red circles. But I dug up a new version and update the links and embedded map below.

    I originally posted this quickie a few years ago, and have noticed that Google has added a few interesting symbols to their map marker collection.

    So, if you like to personalize your Google maps head on over just to the left of Equatorial Guinea (which is where The Google happened to put these markers) and take a look. You can click on any icon to get the marker name, some tips on how to use it and a Learn More link that provides some additional info on creating maps using Fusion Tables. There is even more additional added information a their Change placemark icon page.

    Also, for the record: there is one icon that looks like a skinny swastika – be aware that symbol has ancient origins that go far beyond its use and corruption by he who shall not be named.

    Below is my original post, kept intact for reference by future archaeologists:

    A quick post for today: During my research to create my Tierneys in NYC Directories map, I happened upon a nice reference over at The Google’s fusion tables – a map containing all of the available Google maps icons and their names…

    You can find it here, or see below for a quick peek.

    I’m also in the process of reading “Beginning Google Maps Mashups with Mapplets, KML, and GeoRSS: From Novice to Professional“, so far I’m liking the format and content. I’ll report back when I’ve had a chance to get all the way through.

  • Jan31

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    I have been toying with mapping some one-name study data sets I have been creating and would like to get a better feel for. This post is a simple quick test of using Google Fusion Tables to map out the McKinnon Births by Nova Scotia County as reported at the NovaScotiaGenealogy.com web site.

    So, below are the number of children born with a McKinnon parent for the years 1864-1877, 1908-1910 and delayed registrations 1830-1910. Note that I have found a few name typos in the database that need to be looked into further, and this does not yet cover the “MacKinnon” spelling of the surname. (A work in progress.)

    Since the Fusion Table map does not add a legend on its own and I have not had time to fiddle with the script to add it here, I’ve supplied a screen capture of the settings to provide a better reference for the icon colors.

    You can, of course, click on any icon in the map to see the county name and actual count of births.

    Legend - McKinnon Births in Nova Scotia by County

    My ultimate goal is to create an easy to use mapping system that will allow users to visualize the data by years, names and locations with simple clicks. When I get all of my trials and tribulations sorted out, I will post some how-to’s on my process to compile and present the data.

  • Aug31

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    Yesterday the code.flickr blog wrote about their new Geofences feature that allows users to create virtual fences around certain locations so that their geotagged photos can maintain some semblance of automated privacy.

    I think it is a great idea. You simply go to your account’s privacy page, select a location and tell them how large a circular fence you want to make. Then you assign access to the fence to your own groups – Friends & Family or School Contacts, for example.

    However, it does seem to me that drawing a fence also kinda tells people you are keeping out that the location in question is important to you for some reason.


    You can read more information on the code.flickr Blog.

  • Aug16

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    Having run into a rather sturdy wall with my Tierneys in New York, I’ve decided to see if I might identify some possible relatives of my great-grandfather Michael Tierney. However, as he arrived around 1880 and we have only just discovered he died in 1913, that’s a tough nut to crack.

    So, for awhile I’ve been thinking of mapping out ALL of the Tierneys in New York over time using New York City Directories.

    To begin the project, I’ve downloaded the Tierney pages of every city directory I could get my hands on – I now have them for the years 1844 to 1934. I’ve then tried using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to turn directory images into text that I could massage into correctness.

    1913 NYC Directory Tierney Page Header

    1913 New York City Directory

    Some of these OCR programs worked decidedly better than others. Strangely, the beefy professional software I use at work did the worst job! But, most unfortunately, none of the OCR software did a good enough job to simplify the job of transcribing the names, addresses and professions into a usable format that I wouldn’t have to edit heavily anyway.

    So, I decided to bite the bullet and just transcribe them all by hand into a spreadsheet and go from there. With my *cough* years of computerificness I’m a pretty fast and reasonably accurate typist, and was able to transcribe the 116 Tierneys in the 1913 directory in about an hour and a half (with interruptions.)

    Once I get all of the data transcribed, I’m hoping that by mapping the names, addresses and professions I’ll be able to track not only the individuals over time, but find some patterns and clues for whom might be related to whom.

    For example, I have been trying to find where my great-grandmother Anna Tierney and sons Michael Edward and Thomas F have gone to post-1913. I have not found any of them listed in the 1920 census yet, which has been frustrating. However, by scanning the directories by eye I found an “Anna widow Michael” who appears uptown around 1914. I then noticed there are also men by the names of her sons at the same address. Later on, I find the same three names at a different address along with another Tierney or two.

    I may have found those addresses and the grouping of people sooner with a nice visual – and so may other Tierney searchers later.

    So, as a quick test I’ve taken the data from my 1913 transcription and have had it geocoded and mapped using Batchgeo – take a look below. You can also visit the map directly at this link. I will follow up with more information on techniques I find useful as time goes on.

    View Tierneys from 1913 NYC Directory in a full screen map

    Update: 15 Mar 2012: I’ve started testing out an alternate version using Google Fusion Tables. First run at the 1913 and 1914 data here. (Some bugs found already, and no search controls yet.)

  • Apr5

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    UPDATE August, 2013: Just wanted to add a precursor to this post, as I see a lot of traffic still comes here via Google searches. The Javascript trick I outlined in my original does not seem to work anymore (I just tried it in Chrome, IE and Firefox.)

    However, I some info to make you’re life easier:

    There are some nice sites out there like this one that can do the work for you either by dragging a pin or searching for a specific location.

    But, there’s an easier way if you are already in Google Maps:

    Simply Right-click anywhere on a Google map then Left-Click “What’s Here?” on the pop-up menu – you will see a Street View image in the left column and, Dum Da Dum! – the latitude and longitude up in the top search box.

    Just remember, exactly where you click determines the data you get, so be sure to zoom in on a pin and click directly on that if you need accurate location info.

    Now, back to our originally scheduled post below…

    I was writing up a quick tip to point out some neat Javascript one can use in Google Maps to get the longitude and latitude of a point on the map. Then, I was Googling around and found a site that does it for you in a nice neat interface.

    So, here’s two tips – take your pick!

    Google Map Example

    Without going into the reason for needing the longitude and latitude points, I found I was in need of them for some locations I was working on. First, find the location in question on the Google Maps.

    Once there, copy the double-secret Javascript code below into the address bar of your browser and hit the Enter key on your keyboard:


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