I’m learning how to use the GeoMashup plugin for WordPress. I still think it is a cool plugin, but some frustrations have arisen. Since I am a complete novice at WordPress, PHP, MySQL, etc., my basic knowledge level may not be high enough to understand the documentation that comes with the plugin.
What’s missing is a GeoMashup for Dummies tutorial. The plugin author provides a couple basic paragraphs, then dives right into the details of programming the plugin. So I’m going to document my understanding of what is happening in the plugin. This will help me, and maybe help others. Of course, I’m sure my understanding will grow over time. I’ll try to keep the blog up to date.
I started out thinking in terms of a map. The basic object on a map is a location. I think of a paper map with a push-pin marking the location. The pin (location) has attributes (latitude, longitude) that are used to locate it on a map. So I’m thinking I need to get a list of locations into my blog, and I can locate them on a map.
Wrong answer! WordPress is blogging software. Its basic objects are posts, comments, pages, and users. There is no location object, like a push-pin. What the GeoMashup plugin did was add a location attribute to WordPress objects. Now a Post object has a Location attribute, etc.
This is a fundamental change in my thinking, and I’m still getting used to it. The markers on a map represent posts and pages, not locations themselves.
For a trip I’m currently planning, I want to show markers for all the places I’m considering going to. From that map, I can refine destinations, where to stay and for how long, etc. Since several people are going, and they are located in various parts of the country, we are using a blog page to coordinate the planning. At this time, there is no way to get a list of locations into WordPress. I can only get a list of posts into WordPress. This means I write a post for each candidate location on the itinerary, and assign a location to the post, so the post can be marked on a map. This will make the blog look messy.
GeoMashup has three types of maps. Here are the definitions from the documentation.
- Global Maps: Global maps can include multiple located objects in various combinations.
- Single Maps: These options are like the Global Maps options, but are applied to maps in and of single posts.
- Contextual Maps: These options are like the Global Maps options, but are applied to maps that are based on a list of posts currently being displayed.
So far I have figured out that the maps work this way:
- If the page on which the map is displayed does not have a location attribute, the map will display all objects with locations. Filters can be applied (I’m still learning about them) to select which objects will be displayed. This is a Global Map.
- If the page has a location, that location will be displayed on the map. This is a Single Map.
- I’m not sure how to use a Contextual Map. It must be in the documentation somewhere, just waiting for me to get smart enough to recognize it!