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Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to make a crowdsourced map, fast!

Here's a nice way of making a map in just a few steps.
We'll use Batchgeo.com, though there are other tools that can do the same.
The mapping tool allows you to map spreadsheets instantaneously.
As easy as it sounds, most times problems arise in mapping like this because the information you have is all over the place and needs to be refined.
So why not follow the Batchgeo template from the very first steps?
The template (xls) has to have these fields separated, Address, City,  Zip Code, State. All other fields are up to you.

1. Set up a Google form. (it's really easy). Break out the questions like the fields you want in Batchgeo. Have users fill up the form for, say, polling problems or flooding.

The results come up in a spreadsheet.

2. Edit your spreadsheet. Clean up the information in case a troll decides to spoil your map.

3. Copy the information in the spreadsheet, including the fields (you don't need to copy the time-stamp, if it's not relevant)

4. Paste in batchgeo.com and hit map.

You won't need to validate any fields because your spreadsheet is accurate.
5. Hit 'Save and Continue.'
6. Give your map and name and enter your email. You'll get an embed code and a link to edit the map further and a link to the fullscreen map.
7. Copy and paste into your site.

I did this today while I was hosting a Twitter chat from noon to 1 p.m. I set up the form at 11:50 a.m. and embedded it in my blog post. Then I hosted the chat until 1 p.m. Then I copy-pasted the info in the spreadsheet into batchgeo at 1:05 p.m.. and I had the post updated with the map at 1:10 p.m.only because I was interrupted and the email from batchgeo went into my spam folder.

View #dfmchat insta map in a full screen map

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