Geolocating Everything

I just added Jonathan Crowe’s The Map Room to my daily read. It was there that I learned that GeoURL is back, and that’s got me thinking about geocoding things again.

I spoke of geolocating photos in a previous post, but my interest has broadened. I now want to geolocate my blog posts, I want lat and long recorded with my ATM transactions, I want my emails and phone calls to have location information. (Yeah, I’ve got privacy concerns, that’s another post.)

Regarding blogs, BlogMap will allow you to register your blog, then see nearby blogs. It’s run by a Microsoftie, but my real complaint is that my blog is not itself a location. I post to my blog from wherever I am. Registering my home coordinates makes about as much sense as registering the coordinates of the hosting provider in terms of providing the information that I want. I need an easy way to assign some location information to each blog post, then I want to see it represented on a map.

GeoURL (and I just discovered Geo Tags too) might allow me to put coordinate tags on each post, and then use the GeoURL database to search for things nearby. Of course, if my pictures have appropriate geolocators, then they can be automatically associated with blog activity. Then if enough of Flickr’s photos got geotagged, I could browse over there too.

Google Sightseeing (in flux now) is a perfect example of how geolocations need to be built into the blog/CMS engine. It’s a great concept, but it would work better if I could search their content by proximity to my location. Earthcomber is a better implementation of that concept, but I’d like a version that runs on my desktop and makes it easy (easier) to add my own point of interest. I like the way Earthcomber describes itself:

Earthcomber is a FREE “virtual treasure map” for Palm-powered devices. It allows you to find exactly what you want, wherever you are. As you travel across town or across the country, Earthcomber sweeps the landscape for your personal favorites and notifies you when you are within range.

Often, I read about or learn about something I’d like to visit, then forget about it when I’m in the area. I’d like to create a blog category of things I’d like to see, then map it out as I plan a trip.

I’ve mentioned worldKit a few times before, but it may be the perfect little mapping engine for projects like this, then again, the right kind of Google Maps hacks might be even better.

It was back at Google Sightseeing that I found a link to Google Maps’s satellite view of Mount St. Helens. The URL is easy to dissect, and in moments I had it switched to map view and centered it on good old Warren.

And I found the coordinates to Warren using Acme Mapper‘s ZIP code lookup. It didn’t get my house on the money, but since I live near the center of town, it’s close enough. I could have looked in the US Gazetteer, the USGS place names (geonames) database, or at and gotten similarly good-enough results.

Among the list of features I’m looking for in my next CMS: flexibility to add coordinates to each post. Too bad most CMSs suck.

Previous related posts: GPS Happy, Geolocating Photos, Photoblogging, Google Maps.