Use Google Maps for Your Mobile Site - dummies

Use Google Maps for Your Mobile Site

A fun way to engage users of your mobile website and take advantage of the unique powers of the mobile web is to create a photo gallery integrated with a Google map that automatically places geolocated photos on a map, to show where they were taken.

Consider these examples:

  • If your website serves a community, such as a travel club, a group of marathon racers, or another group that likes to share photos, the nifty features at Picasa let you, or anyone, easily upload photos from a cellphone and automatically create photo galleries.

    If the phone model includes geodata (such as the iPhone does; on other models, it depends on the privacy settings), you can add photos to a Google map automatically. Then, when your travel club members are taking photos out their windows on the group’s next road trip, everyone on your site can see the photos in real time and track where club members visit by following the photos across a map.

    Geodata is the precise longitude and latitude of your location on the planet, expressed in degrees, minutes, seconds, or radians; the raw numbers look a bit like this 38° 53′ 55.133″ N by 77° 02′ 15.691″ W. A computer mapping program takes these coordinates and produces a point on a map — in this case, the location of the White House in Washington, D.C.

  • Adding photos to maps is a helpful way to improve the directions on your website. For example, if you’re creating a site for a restaurant located down a tricky side street, with a blind entrance from the parking lot, just use this process to create a map that potential customers can follow on their mobile devices.

    It will show not only the restaurant’s location on the map but also a picture (or a series of pictures) that shows the street-level view of where customers should park and any other useful details.


You can build this functionality by hand-coding scripts that use the GPS data that mobile devices encode into digital photos. But Google has already built sites and scripts that do this for you for free, so why reinvent the map? Combining the power of Google’s free Picasa photo-sharing service with Google Maps is a powerful, easy, and cost-effective option.