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miniBB and interactive Google maps

Author Anonymous
Guest
#1 | Posted: 4 Jan 2006 21:17 
I'm looking for anybody who has tried combining miniBB with interactive maps (e.g. google maps) so members can join (or open new) topics by clicking on the map.

So if you have ever heard or read about such a site give my a hint (might even concern forum software other than miniBB...)!

Thanks for your help!

Oliver

Author Team
8-)
#2 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 07:45 
It would be good if you provide some links to what is called "interactive maps".

Author Anonymous
Guest
#3 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 08:35 
Starting tomorrow, I will begin trying to do just that--combine miniBB with a google maps page. I've just started putting together the critical elements on the web page "www.transecology_info/maps". Please let me know if you find any other solutions...

Scott

Author Oliver
Registered
#4 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 09:29 
It would be good if you provide some links to what is called "interactive maps".
I have to admit I'm not particularly savy on the subject but I had something like http://www.housingmaps.com/ in mind, where a google map is combined with craigslist.

Starting tomorrow, I will begin trying to do just that - Hey Scott, you are exactly planning what I was thinking of! Let me know when it gets interactive (or I'll check from time to time). Thank you very much for the hint.

I'll report any progress to this page here and on the wiki.

Oliver

Author Ivan
Advanced Member
#5 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 10:34 | Edited by: Ivan 
I cannot understand what will be the sense to open a new topic clicking on the map of Uganda, for example? What shall we do with such mechanism? :(((

Instead, I can simply open a topic "What do you think about Uganda?"

Author Team
8-)
#6 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 11:11 
Well, technology seems a bit new, but if it uses standart http protocols, like GETting and/or PUTting variables the same way as any other scripts does, then there is nothing difficult. And - I didn't understand clearly, how to locate an exact city or country on this map.

Author Oliver
Registered
#7 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 13:45 
Ivan, let me try to convince you of the purpose of such a combined Map-BB thing:

Take an area you know well - not a world map but your city or your neighbourhood. Many things are going on in that area - redevelopment projects and major construction work are under way, a new community facility is beeing opened, an openair festival is being held, some areas may be unwise to visit during certain times ot the day.

So a map does organize all these things in a meaningfull way - much more than a simple list of topics. What do you think?

Author Team
8-)
#8 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 14:46 
Despite all of that, Google map just helps in organizing something. Probably, you already need to prepare complete forums structure for it. For example, if you have Area #1, Area #2, Area #3 on the map, you need to create forums "Area #1", Area #2", Area #3", so when people click on the map, they go directly to that forums.

But still, this is more fetish thing, else practical :)

Author Ivan
Advanced Member
#9 | Posted: 5 Jan 2006 16:38 
Oliver, I think that this is a very complicated and needless script construction for a BB. In a BB the structure is defined thematically and the simplest thing is to open a new topic in the respective area (if allowed).

What you propose is rather a kind of card-index mechanism for some branches of business - previously prepared structure, filled with some information, with a possibility for commentaries (if someone will want to make one at all).

Team have said you the rest - this way you could show how tricky the things can be, but with no practical effect.

I would add: and even with harm to the natural human forum contacts.

And... in general, I don't care much about the "great" Google and its new order in the world :) I always congratulate Google with: "Hi! NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW!"

Author JmZ
Registered
#10 | Posted: 6 Jan 2006 13:04 
Oliver, Scott,

I like your ideas. You may want to look into this plugin: http://www.yongfook.com/2005/11/24/instant-google-world-map-plugin/

Although it's developed to work for WordPress (blogging software), I reckon you might find a lot of inspiration in the code.

What you'd basically do is make a page with a google map in it. Also, update the database structure by adding fields for longitude and lattitude in the topics table. Then you'd need to add a little php-script on the googlemap-page which runs a loop through all existing topics in the database, and makes markers out of the long & lat. points (see the code of the linked plugin for that).

Author Oliver
Registered
#11 | Posted: 7 Jan 2006 11:21 
Thanks JmZ, that is an interesting thing allthough the issue of opening new topics by clicking on the map is not so obvious (to me).

To Ivan an Team: maybe I was not very clear that Google Maps (an particularly the housingmaps I gave as an example) is not the one and only path to follow. There are other mapping hacks, some of them open source (mappinghacks.com is worth a look)

Paticularly one thing about the housingmaps.com site is confusing: one first clicks on an area, then makes a joice between different categories and only then zooms in to find the rooms mapped. That sounds like a lot of organizing by a central editor. Thats not what I mean! Rather one should directly click anywhere on the map and freely open a new topic. The strength of arranging stuff spatially is just that its the natural way we live.

So I'm still hoping to find more relevant projects - thanks all for your hints!

Author JmZ
Registered
#12 | Posted: 7 Jan 2006 12:09 
Ah, so your goal is to be able to start new topics via the map? I thought you were looking to develop an alternative method of navigation within existing topics (which is what the plugin does...).

I actually do think that the latter functionality would be a cool gadget to add to the forum's navigation functionality. Of course it's only useful for topics that can be related to a certain area, such as on a travel forum.

Author Team
8-)
#13 | Posted: 9 Jan 2006 08:27 
Oliver
If so, then probably you need to create a lot of forums, some way associated with the map. Because new topic can be created only if the forum ID is known.

Author JmZ
Registered
#14 | Posted: 9 Jan 2006 15:00 
Team
Or create only 1 forum, problem solved... ;)

Author Oliver
Registered
#15 | Posted: 9 Jan 2006 20:30 
If I get this right the question of having one or many forums is wether you want one global map to represent all locations to discuss worldwide or if you have many sites all over the planet displaying only sectorial maps which then link to their own forum each. I any case its one forum per map.

Or looking at it the other way around - what Team seems to suggest - the clue would be to have one global map that allows you to navigate to different forums. That is a great idea - however it is more than I was hoping to suggest here.

To illustrate the whole idea of "map-BB" have a look at openforum. They build wikis that relate to various cities. The open guide to Boston is leading in developing a map that represents their wiki-entries - though not (yet?) allowing for annotating locations via the map (see the discussion I had with developper Christopher Schmidt).

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