With the help of the Mapquest team (who contacted me via their Twitter – thanks!), we have some great information on how users can easily create a custom map, embed photos from a GeoRSS feed, and then embed on a webpage or blog (recall my last blog post on this topic where I had trouble locating the steps to do this).
First, get a map of your location of interest – for testing purposes I’ve elected to map Fort Collins, Colorado (yes, home of the Internationally renowned Balloon Boy). Next, in the very upper left area above the map, select the “Link or Embed” option.
A new window will pop up along with several options. Select the “Embed Option” – again a new window appears, then elect “Advanced Options” found at the bottom of this window. Finally, another new window will appear. Scroll down to the section with the “GeoRSS Feed” option and copy/paste the url of your RSS feed. This is where it gets good.
For mobile photo fanatics like myself, you may have a number or your photos archived on Flickr or Brightkite… both of these fine services support the creation of GeoRSS feeds. Please note, you will likely have to have your location sharing preferences for the photos set to share with the public, you also will have had to have uploaded your photos along with any relevant location tags and relevant information. This is likely the step that will throw many end users, particularly the novice mobile user who may not even be aware that location sharing and tagging options can be set to “ON” when capturing photos [with a camera that has integrated GPS] like make Nokia S60 smartphones (N95, N97 etc…) and the popular iPhone 3G S.
Finding a GeoRSS feed using Flickr is quite simple. For any user, simply jump to their photo home page, then scroll to the very bottom of the page. you will see an RSS feed logo and to the far right, notice the options for GeoRSS and KML. Simply right-click and copy the url or the GeoRSS feed and click “Load”.
Doing this will result in 2 things happening; on the mapquest map (above) you’ll now notice little RSS icons appearing on the map. Each icon shows a location where a GeoTagged photo is located and being pulled from the GeoRSS feed – click an icon to display the photo. Second, the code used to embed the custom map is made available at the bottom of the page – simply Copy/Paste this code into your web page.
Then paste into the dialog in Mapquest under the advanced Embed options –
The following map displays the Flickr Photo GeoRSS feed
For those of you who are fanatical about sharing your location and geo-located photos with friends and colleagues, I suggest looking at Brightkite, an excellent application that I’ve used on Symbian smartphones and on iPhone 3G S – Brightkite is now also available for Android device users! Brightkite enables rapid “check in” where the user can update his/her location and check in along with a simple note and photo. Your Brightkite status gets updated, the photo stored in your image collection, and a handy map is presented along with your photos. Perhaps best of all, Brightkite integrates with facebook (via facebook connect) and Twitter so when you update your Brightkite status or location you can optionally send a Tweet to Twitter, with a link to your photo. There’s also a handy Flickr Connect where your Brightkite photos are automatically sent to a Flickr account and Set of your choice – handy!
My account can be found at http://brightkite.com/people/gisuser (Go ahead and friend me if you want)
To locate your Brightkite GeoRSS feed go to your brightkite homepage and see the right sidebar lower area – notice icons for RSS and KML. Once again, you can copy and paste this GeoRSS feed url into mapquest to display the photos on a map (Of note, if you happen to be a Google map user you can easily display on a google map by pasting the RSS feed url into the search dialog on the maps home page!