Heal Your Church WebSite


Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

YourMap – an easier way to integrate Google Maps into your church website

Google Map - Your MapBack in August, I posted a 10-step “How to (really) embed Google Maps on your church website.” Yesterday, I received a really nice email from Mickey of Church Website Help & Google Earth Hacks informing me he’s developed a free online application that automates 8 of the steps I previously defined. In his own words, here is what he’s offering and why:

I thought I’d share this with you in the hopes that you like it and share it with other people and/or blog about it.

I’ve noticed a lot of church sites (and many other small businesses) don’t have a decent map on their directions page to convey a sense of location. It’s often an old MapQuest screenshot or something like that. I’ve built a free tool to help people embed a Google Map on their site, as well as provide a Google Earth file for them.

http://www.gearthhacks.com/yourmap/

I designed it to be very simple. It should be a total of about a two minute process for most people. Enter info –> Generate code –> Paste code.

Here is a demo of what the output looks like:

http://www.gearthhacks.com/yourmap/demo.php

Let me know what you think.

I think the church website community owes you a bit thank you! Meaning, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, you get a free lunch or at least some coffee and conversation on my nickel!

About the only thing I might add to the service is an AJAX-based latitude/longitude retrieval element so that the user doesn’t have to go off-site of the utility to gain said locational data. I know, whatta pain!

That said, it’s not too much of a hop and skip as it is, and coupled with Tim Bednar’s advice on how to “Get your church listed on the Apple iPhone” by leveraging Google Local Business to map one’s ministry … and you can dispense with the crufty screen captures of various MapQuest and Yahoo Map images Micky sites in his email.

Hand drawn maps … well that’s an entirely different article I’m saving to fun-up an otherwise boring Friday sometime in the probably distant future.

7 Comments

  1. Dean,

    Thanks for the nice write-up. I agree that having a lat/lon tool built-in would help. I’m looking into how to do that.

    If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.

    Thanks!

  2. That’s cool.

    One thing that would be great to add to it would be a form to enter an address and get driving directions to the location.

    That would be especially useful for my church. We don’t own a building at this point, so every activity or meeting is in a rented facility. Regular Sunday and Wednesday services are pretty stabel week to week, but other things (the church Christmas party for example) tend to vary to even members might not know how to get there.

  3. Hi Dean,

    Thanks for this link. I have given it a try and it work really well. The only thing I would have liked to have known is that the data lives on his website… I’m not particularly web savvy, but in lay person’s terms I think this is what’s going on: My website queries Mickey’s website which sends the data to Google. What if Mickey gets tired of running http://www.gearthhacks.com?

  4. A few things to note:

    - The script now determines lat/lon automatically based on the address you enter! That should make it much easier for a lot of folks.
    - The suggestion for adding driving directions is a good one. I’ll work on that.
    - To answer the last question — yes, the data lives on our site. If we get tired of running the site, then the maps would go away. However, we’ve been around better than two years and get hundreds of thousands of visitors per month. It’s not just a small site I have on the side or anything. We’re not going anywhere. :)

  5. There is now a link in the description bubble that the user can click to get directions. Is that kind of what you were suggesting?

  6. Good Stuff! I’m in the process of getting my Churches details up to date in google!

    On my Churches site (www.minehead-baptist.com) I’ve used: http://avi.alkalay.net/2006/11/google-maps-plugin-for-wordpress.html and although the site uses WP, I’ve gone for the ‘manual’ approach, that can be used on any site (rather than the plugin), as I only want it on one page and can use custom code in the header to just pull the js onto that page…

    I’ve also found: http://pininthemap.com/ which is handy as some of our Youth groups meet at another places, so this is a quick and easy way of getting a map link to the locations without having to do a full embed. Seems like tinyurl for google maps!

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