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Saturday, January 12th 2013

4:00 PM

Creating Trackable Maps, part 3

The real fun starts when you maintain a database of your trackables and their locations; then you can use GSAK and Google Fusion Tables to visualize the data.

 
The pocket query you created in part 2, of course, is just that: a portable database. I created a new database in GSAK called "Trackables" and imported the pocket query into it. Now I can manipulate all kinds of data. The first step: decide what kind of map I'd like. Do I want a worldwide map of all the TB locations, or a map that indicates which states or countries have them? To make these choices I'll want to adjust the "view" in GSAK.
 
The "default" view in GSAK contains the usual information one needs to find a cache:
 
 
We want to create and save a new "view" setting called "trackables" that contains good information for mapmaking:
 
 
Under "view" in GSAK we find the "add/remove columns" and just have a checkmark by Code, Travel Bugs, Latitude, Longitude, State and Country. **IMPORTANT** In that same dialog window you'll have the choice of how to display the long/lat data. In order to play nice with Google Fusion Tables later, we'll want to choose "decimal degrees" instead of the more common GPS notation. The "Travel Bugs" icon is pretty useless for our purposes other than being a quick way to determine whether a person or container is likely to have the bug.
 
If you want to get really serious, you can use one of the User editable fields to enter the trackable's name, or once the file is exported you can make that change later. If you add the name now remember to include that column for export.
 
It's best not to confuse Google Fusion Tables with too much info if you plan on playing with them. If you want a map of actual locations, remove the "state" and "country" columns. If you want a map of states or countries just keep the appropriate column and remove the long and lat and either state or country. When you have the column or columns you want (don't separate long from lat, though) then export a .csv/.txt file. Export, name and save it somewhere where you'll find it later. You'll want to eliminate any confusing punctuation, although I can't think of too many place names that include commas or semicolons.
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