Are we there YET. Tips on using the very best of Google Maps.


Recently in my project, I implemented Google Maps. I was wondering if I did it the right way. Went googling for some terms, and I came across some new nifty way to share URLs. Nonetheless, it turned out, that the http protocol GEO: doesn’t work in firefox. May be Desktop Firefox is not reading it. Mobile Firefox might be displaying it.

I would like to refer to my previous entry on the same topic. (https://salmankhwaja.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/sure_way_to_lure_customers/), where I was focused on making QR Codes for locations. Imagine when you come across a Website, where it is saying, where are we located, and then they insert their P-Mail address. Duh. Then when you actually need to be there, you end up copying / pasting that address in Google Maps, search, send that location to your mobile, and then drive there. Well, it’s about time to educate those who are developing sites for such corporations.

Even if QR codes are not your forte, one could at least provide the coordinates, so that people could view them in Google Maps / Foursquare, their application of choice. Here how to do it right.

  1. Goto http://maps.google.com/
  2. type in your desired location / name. In other words, just search for it.
  3. Once desired results are there, a red marker should be displayed right in front of you.
  4. Click on it, and it will show you the GPS Coordinate right below it.
  5. Click the GPS Coordinates. Now those Coordinates will be displayed in SEARCH bar.
  6. Copy them those GPS coordinates. The most common form of GPS coordinates is in the form of 64.19,98.92, that is, x,y, where x is Latitude, and y is Longitude.
  7. Now open your favoutire editor and make a hyperlink like
 <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/?q=[GPSCordinates]">Click here to see our location on Google Maps.</a> 
  1. That’s all there is to it. So the resulting hyperlink would be. Adding a location of Badshahi Mosque (randomly this location came into my mind). <a href=”http://maps.google.com/maps/?q=31.588085,74.310071″>Visit Badshahi Mosque here.</a>.
    Link added for your surfing convenience.

Alternatively, one could also use the GEO Protocol.

  1. Once, the Geo Coordinates are known, one could use the following link to create Geo Location.
    <a href="geo:31.588085,74.310071">go here</a>
    
  2. Second method sounds quite easy, but my Desktop Firefox was not pointing to right location. Link added for surfing again (Badshahi Mosque). Google Link

First method is tried and tested, and it works every time and points to Google maps, no matter on which device the user is at, well at least, most of the devices.

For those who are thinking to have some extra reading, here are the additional links shared.

http://geomediablog.com/2007/07/10/creating-a-hyperlink-from-a-point-in-geomedia-to-google-maps/
http://www.smick.net/notebook/how-to-link-to-a-gps-coordinate-on-a-webpage-using-geo-url/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geo:
http://diveintohtml5.info/geolocation.html

Some links to see Google maps and GPS Coordinates in action

http://boulter.com/gps/#31.588085%2C74.310071
http://www.itouchmap.com/latlong.html

How have you implemented Google Maps in your Project.? I would definitely like to know more in comments.

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Sure way to lure more customers to your Service


A sure shot way to lure your customers to your place is giving them your location in the easiest possible way, possibly on their Mobile Phones. Heres how.

These days, organizations are asking Food Bloggers / Critics to blog about their product (be that service / restaurant / a Corporate Company). One thing which lacks (at times) is the location. When we visit a Food Blog, or a restaurant being reviewed, the reviewer talk about the aroma, the presentation, they even post High resolution pictures, which is so tempting, but what they don’t provide is the Location. Location of where that restaurant is at. Same is the case with Corporate companies. All they provide is the Textual information of their post mail address.

Take a reader’s point of view. If he is reading a Blog post about a restaurant, he might be making his mind to go to that place once he gets the free time. He would love to transfer some link to his smart phone. What choice do the site gives to that user ? Currently none.

Now Imagine if one could include a link of website of Restaurant being reviewed, better if the contact details / phone number is provided, great if the direct link to Google Maps is provided, awesome if the QR Code with all the details is provided, so that the read could just scan that QR Code, and all the details are transferred to their mobile phone.

QR Code (Quick Response Technology) ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code ) is not new and we haven’t seen the potential in it, until Olaround (https://twitter.com/OlaroundMe ) ( http://www.olaround.me/ ) started this technology in Pakistan recently about scanning QR Codes and getting discounts.

Let me give you a small glimpse of what a QR Code could do.

Enter QR Code generator. http://goqr.me/. One can generate a QR Code for literally anything. Be that a big chunk of Text one could save it to their mobile phone, be that a Google Maps location, an Email Address, a number to call (so that the phone dialer is directly opened with that number), or a complete V Card (Contact details).

Now the user stories.

  • Imagine a Job Seeker wants to know where that company is. He goes to that company’s Website. Scans the QR Code having the Google Map location, and walla. Now he could go to that Company for Job interview.
  • A person coming to a restaurant, a he found a job vacancy in a magazine. That Job Vacancy is displayed QR Code. He scans it, and he has now all the requirements, JD, and an Email address to mail to in his mobile.
  • A reader reading a Restaurant review on a website. The Reviewer has given a QR Code on his blog which points to the Location of that restaurant being reviewed. The reader scans the QR Code, and how his mobile has the location opened in Google maps, so that he can go there whenever he wishes to.

Building the same example above, I present the QR Code of a random Google Map location which is mapped to Hardees (One of my favorite restaurant) in Karachi, North Nazimabad.

QR Code for Hardees Google Map Location.

You can use your Mobile / QR Scanner right now, to see this QR code in Action. PS: you need QR code app (links Listed below) installed on your SMART Phone

All the reader has to do is scan the QR Code into your cell phone and boom, a Google Map will be displayed with Hardees set as Target destination, and Source destination will be the current location of the Coordinate where the Cell phone is at. All the user has to do is click get directions, and he will be displayed with turn by turn navigation of how s/he will be going from where s/he is at, to hardees location (in this case).

QR Code scanners are free to download, and if your android phone is updated with the latest version of Google NOW / Google Search, then you do not need to download any further QR Code scanner.

For Android users, following apps can be downloaded.

For I-Phone users, the following links will show you the app, you could install on your IPhone

and what’s more, Our NADRA has implemented the QR Code technology in their SMART Cards. Don’t believe me, have a look at this blog post ( http://faisalbasra.blogspot.com/2013/01/nadra-pakistan-goes-with-chip-enabled.html ) and picture (the picture is off course scrambled, so that personal details are kept hidden). link to picture. NADRA SNIC Card having QR Code

In other words, we see corporate companies providing their location as QR Codes, providing their Job Vacancies as QR codes in Magazines, Blog Posts, Facebook Pages, Twitter tweets, Restaurants giving their location as QR Codes on their websites, reviewers providing the reviewed service’s location as QR Code location. Wouldn’t that be a great moment.

You can always share your thoughts in comments section. Hey I won’t bite you if you could share a better solution or if you outright reject my opinion. Opinions are formed, because they might be conflicting and genuine.

Andriod Software I can’t live without.


Basic software which are installed on my phone are

– App Saver
This one basically saves the APK for the installed file, so that in case you apply the new rom, all you need to do it to run those APKs on your SD card. No need to re-download the apps from Market.

– Catch
This is the note taking software for the mobiles which are on lower hardware end. For higher end Smart phones, use Ever Note. BTW, catch is directly integrated with COMPASS and Google maps, so you can save the Latitude / Longitude links of any location in your Google Maps.

– Dolphin Browser
If there is one browser worth checking out on Android, it’s Dolphin

– Compass / Qibla / Adhan Timings
All in one app which provides the direction of Qaba, notificatioins when its time for namaz and Compass, which provides the direction of Kaaba / Qibla.

– Gmail / K9 Email
Off course, for checking Emails belonging in Gmail. For emails over non Gmail accounts, I personally use K9 Email, probably because of its customization and being snappier on my cell phone.

GAMES

There is no better thing such as games to waste valuable time on your mobile phone isn’t it. So far I have tried following games

– Reckless Racing

– Angry Birds

– Angry Birds Rio

– Dismount

– Slice it

– Traffic Jam

Let me know which software you can’t live without on your android.