So first I will show off a bit more frogspotter and then talk about #melhack as an event.
After making version 1, I got some great advice from people at melhack and not, about how to do clustering of Google Map markers. It seems there are quite a few options. I ended up going with MarkerClusterer:
(Oh and check that species list. But more on that later :))
MarkerClusterer looks great… in fact, maybe it looks too good. I do prefer the colour explosion of seeing all the different coloured markers directly. With MarkerClusterer, the “cluster” markers have their own colour scheme which is just related to the total number of markers. I can’t figure out a way to preserve the different species-ness of the markers when they get turned into clusters.
But, OTOH, with MarkerClusterer I can actually display all 6,700 points on the map, with minimal complaint from Firefox. So… that’s a tradeoff.
The cluster markers also freak out if you do “Remove all”, check some species, then try and zoom in. They stay as cluster markers and don’t convert to individual markers like they are supposed to if you zoom in enough. But if you just zoom in on the initial map with everything, you can see the individual markers. :)
So the pop-ups now have a link – to pages at Frogs of Australia, like Neobatrachus centralis. I was so happy to do that because Frogs of Australia have an awesome pretty/clean URL scheme. No API or searching or anything needed!
A few things more I would like to do
- Fix the marker handling so that the check boxes work properly – hopefully will fix zooming on cluster markers too. (you never know)
- convert to using jQuery
- Add an image from Flickr/Wikimedia Commons in the pop-ups
- And probably cache them…
- Drop in a templating system…hmm, maybe Mako?
- Add an ‘about’ page
- Incorporate timeline data, per-species, in a graphic to the right of the checkboxes – so far I’ve just completely ignored this
- Overlay other data like national parks
That’s all rather ambitious given I’m not devoting any more consecutive 24-hour stretches to this project, but you never know. :) Maybe I’ll be inspired for the MashupAustralia deadline this Friday. Or maybe I’ll work on it this Saturday at the GGD Afternoon Hack, even though the deadline is past it will still be a fun project.
Even though I know how simple it is to put together something with Google Maps, there is still something magic about seeing your dots show up on a map. Even other techies I showed it to over the weekend had the same reaction.
During my presentation of frogspotter at the end of MelHack, I was corrected by Dr Gruen about where the data came from — I had wrongly assumed it was recorded by South Australian public servants. But no! It’s from the public. Pretty awesome.
You might call it a geek adventure. ;)