I love it when technology helps

Earlier this evening we were discussing visiting Oxford again. Both of us have fond memories of a nice roast lunch in a pub we accidentally found up near there on a previous visit. Hmm, what was the pub called? No idea. Hmm, where exactly was it? No idea. Bugger..

I had a vague memory of taking a picture of the enormous Yorkshire pudding served with the roast, hmm what are the chances I took it with my iPhone, and what are the chances of it being geotagged. Loading up the photo gallery app on my phone I switched it to the ‘places’ view of the camera album and started to zoom in around Oxford. Bingo, there was the picture of the Yorkshire, precisely geotagged. A quick google with the name of road and The Fishes turns up. It’s nice when technology helps.

Just in case you were wondering, the Yorkshire looked like this:

Playing with Google Maps, Twitter and Foursquare

Phil Gyford recently had a lovely idea of collating all the things geo tagged each day into a map for that day. It didnt take me long before I thought I’d have a go at doing this myself, it also gave me another reason to finally sit down and arrange some sort of backup of my Tweets and my FourSquare checkins.

This is all written in PHP, because well, that is what I know best. I write code very rarely, probably no more than once every year or two so I wasn’t up for learning a new language at the same time. The underpinnings of it all are a couple of scripts which get run every day and pull all of my tweets and checkins and store them locally. So most of what drives this map is actually just reading local files, rather than making API calls to the various services.

The first map below is from 2010-08-31 which is when I was down on the Isle of Wight.

Improvements I’d like to make

  • The marker icons ought to differentiate between checkins and tweets
  • More info shown in the boxes which appear when you click the markers, date/text maybe a thumb of an image if I included one in a tweet
  • This uses the Google maps API V2, which is deprecated,  I need to update it to use V3 at some point.
  • Possibly have something automatically add a post to WordPress everyday. Although that might be a bit much for the front page. I’ll have to investigate options there I think.

I’d like to be able to add these enhancements soonish, free time permitting. And

Inca Burial Mounds

We spent the day out in Rusilip and the surrounding areas, on the way back we thought it might be nice to stop and have a picnic somewhere, the park with the large mounds on adjacent to the A40 seemed as a good a place as any.

Googling for information about them reveals an interesting history. Being a bit of a geek and having a new GPS tracker on my phone I thought I’d walk up the spiral path around the middle of the three and see what the GPS trace looked like. After getting home and extracting the GPX file from Motion-X I found this brilliant site which enables you to upload a GPX track and have it overlaid on a variety of maps. The one you see below is a standard Google Satellite image, the colour of the track indicates the altitude.

As a bit of an asside, while I was descending the mound I had a quick look up on Geocaching.com to see if there were any caches near by, sure enough there is one on the Mound itself. It took a bit of finding however, as you can see from the photo it was getting a bit dark by then!