Google started baking some mashups into the main Google Maps interface earlier this week. As a Wikipedia editor, the one that intrigued me was the ability to hover over a feature on a map and click through to a related Wikipedia article. The question I had was, how do I change my article so that it appears on the map?
Fortunately, it appears to be a pretty simple process, with only one complicated bit, the first one:
- Find the place. That is, the place that the article is about. Google Maps is of course your friend here. Once you’ve found the location, double-click to center it in your browser.
- Get the coordinates. This actually isn’t as hard as you might think, thanks (again) to Google Maps. The article Obtaining geographic coordinates provides some helpful suggestions, with a special section on Google Maps. I particularly like the bookmarklet provided, because it makes the workflow so simple–find the place as above, then use the bookmarklet to get the coordinates already in a template. Whatever your method, you’ll want to use the appropriate precision.
- Add the appropriate template to the article. There are a few different templates that add geographic coordinates to an article, and some Infobox templates (including Template: Infobox University) include a coordinate parameter. But if you use the bookmarklet I mentioned above, you get the coordinates handed to you in a coord template, which is the one you want to use for compatibility with Google. The only change I’d make is to add the display=title parameter, which floats the coordinates up to the top of the page.
- Set the template options. The two I recommend are display=title and type= the appropriate value; for a building, use landmark. This is important because it sets the zoom to the appropriate value.
- Preview, making sure to click through and check the map link, then publish.
As an example, I added coordinates to the article about the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Now the next question will be: how long does it take those coordinates to percolate over to Google Maps? I suppose we’ll find out.