Yesterday, with the help of the gang over at Simpleview we launched our new Google Maps integration live on the website.
Using the Google API (Application Programming Interface, which basically lets our database talk with Google’s database), we were able to integrate these maps into our site with real time data from Google, so it’s just like being in Google Maps, but on our website! Very similar to how our online booking engine works!
The integration pretty much offers two main features, the Map Explorer and listings application. The Map Explorer is the stand alone map that you can get to by going to our website and clicking on the visitors tab (at present, but I will be adding it to other areas of the site). From there, on the left side navigation you will see a link for “Maps”. This map explorer allows you to search properties by region and then further drill down by specific category and find the area that you are looking for. The Map Explorer offers users the following options:
- Directions – Get directions to and from a property.
- Street View – See the actual street camera view right in front of the property. (May not be available for every property)
- Send to a Friend – Forward to a friend if you like.
- What’s Nearby – This is my favorite feature. Ever had a meeting planner or other, voice concern over how the map makes Tampa look large and not easily navigable? Well with the nearby option you can show them just how close things really are!
- Map Clustering – See this link for example, but this feature allows for users to search, and in the instance where there are too many points in one given area, the clustering (+) option allows you to drill down into that area/neighborhood and have a better idea of the properties that exists within the category.
- And many more…
The other feature is that each member either has already been added to the listings app with a mapped point. On each individual listings view, there is a “Map It” button you can click on and easily find the place you are looking for. So if you are trying to figure out where to stay or where to eat in Tampa Bay, then these maps will be a very welcome addition for you!
Now as with any web initiative that we launch, it’s impossible to anticipate all of the errors and kinks while in the test environment. These maps are live on our site, but if you are navigating through them and notice anything out of the ordinary please feel free to let me know and I will troubleshoot those issues.
Stay tuned for more updates and tips on how to get around and enjoy fun things to do in Tampa Bay!