• Dave Foord
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Public Transport Route Planner

My work involves me traveling all over the place, and as we are a 1 car family, I don’t often get to drive, so have to rely on public transport. This I actually prefer as I hate driving to places, I am much happier being sat on a train, doing some work, rather than getting stressed behind the wheel, and when I run training, my work is very intense, so I am often exhausted at the end, so getting into a car to drive home for 2 hours, doesn’t appeal.

The problem with trains, though is that they don’t always take you that close to your desired destination, which either means taxis (which can cost a bit), or trying to work out the local bus network – and for this, I find http://www.transportdirect.info really useful as it can help me to plot such journeys, and shows me maps of the various interchanges and bus stop locations, another problem with bus travel in unfamiliar locations.

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Choosing different pins when creating Google Maps

I am not sure quite how (as I am sure it worked when I originally wrote this post) but the method that I describe below doesn’t work completely as described. I am trying to work out how to get round this, as I think this would be a really useful technique. If I can solve this, then I will re-post to this blog and will update this post accordingly.

Sorry for any confusion caused.

I have in the past blogged a couple of times about Google Maps – for example https://davefoord.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/quickly-creating-a-google-map-from-a-spreadsheet-of-data/ gives instructions on how to create a Google Map from a Spreadsheet of data, and https://davefoord.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/creating-a-distance-from-google-map/ explains how you can create a radius diagram from a pin of either road distances or travel times.

With the first of the above techniques – one problem with this is that you often end up with the pins that are plotted being invisible at first – meaning that you have to then edit each one in turn to choose the desired colour pin, but it is possible to add data to the original spreadsheet to automatically plot pins of your choosing.

To do this add a column and title it something like ‘image’ or ‘icon’. Then you need to add against each entry the URL of an image that you want to act as the marker for the point – you could use anything (e.g. your own company logo) as long as it is small in size. Or you can use the pins that Google provide – all we need to do is find out the URL of each of the pins, that you may want, which I have done for you here so

Red

Red

has a URL of: http://www.google.com/intl/en_us/mapfiles/ms/icons/red.png

Red-dot

red-dot

http://www.google.com/intl/en_us/mapfiles/ms/icons/red-dot.png

Red pushpin

Red pushpin

http://www.google.com/intl/en_us/mapfiles/ms/icons/red-pushpin.png

(so all you need to do is copy the URL and change the ending to either red.png, red-dot.png or red-pushpin.png to get the desired shape.

You can then replace the colour ‘red’ with yellow, green, purple, pink, or blue to get different colour pins

We can also have letter markers such as

MarkerA

MarkerA

which has the code of http://www.google.com/mapfiles/markerA.png (and you can change the letter A for any other letter of the alphabet)

If we are creating our starting list in the spreadsheet it is possible to automatically create a different letter for each entry – by using a simple formula in the spreadsheet

And whilst researching for this post, I discovered http://sites.google.com/site/gmapicons/home which has a few other icon URLS in its list.

So having created our spreadsheet of data, and added an image URL against each URL – if we then go to http://www.batchgeo.com/ the site mentioned in my first blog post) – When you get to Step 2 – there is a button for ‘Advanced Options’ – if you choose this, then against ‘Image URL’ choose whatever column header you had in your spreadsheet.

With some clever understanding of Excel and the use of formulas, this could be a very powerful technique for creating maps.