• Creating a favourite and "mapping" yourself there

    The way in which you’re most likely to map your location while using mapme.at is to use favourites that you’ve created in the past. Favourites allow you to save a location into the mapme.at database, assign some tags and a description and then use it multiple times in the future. This method makes it easier to group together your visits to a single location in a way that would not be as easy if each visit was simply stored as a latitude and longitude. The favourite also gives you a way to inform the world some of the meaning surrounding the location you’re currently in. The favourite label, description and tags are all publicly visible, even if a person only has country-specific rights to see your location.

    While location is very important and helps to convey meaning, it often isn’t enough on its own to illustrate your current situation. Saying that I’m “In San Francisco, California” might make it sound like I’m in holiday. If I added a label such as “where2008” and a description of “Where 2008 Conference” that should hopefully make it clearer that I’m actually there on a business trip. Adding a few tags such as “maps, location, conference” should make sure that anyone who doesn’t know what “Where 2008 Conference” is now has a better idea.

    So, on to the instructions. Before you can create a favourite you’ll need to set yourself up with an account. You can either follow the links on the front page or just click on this link to register your mapme.at account. If you’re all trendy and futuristic and setup with Open ID then you can go ahead and enter that, alternatively you can fill in the full form and password. You can attach an Open ID to your account later, and you can also add a password to an account later so don’t worry too much that the decision you make now will haunt you in the future. Either way you will still need to enter a username and your email address. The first so that people have a way of finding you on mapme.at and the second for important emails such as if you forget your login details or when someone adds you as a contact.

    When you’ve filled the form in you should get an email that contains a link, we do this to confirm that you’ve entered your email address correctly as it’s going to be the only way you can get your password reset if you forget it. Click on that link and you’ll be taken to your user homepage. Initially this page should be centered somewhere near to you though for me it tends to be about 40 miles away. If you’re using a modern JavaScript enabled browser you should be able to drag the map somewhere close to the location you want then right click on the map and select “New favourite here”. Alternatively you can enter something in the search box in the top right and the map will re-center. Now just fill in the form on the right entering a label, a description and any tags you want then click “Create”. Your favourite should appear on the map and the information with some links will appear on the right hand side.

    If you want to then “map” yourself at one of your favourites you can either click on the label on the right hand side, or visit mapme.at/label - if you’ve created a label for “home” or “work” one of the following should work - http://mapme.at/home or http://mapme.at/work

    So now’s the time to go a little bit crazy and start creating favourites for some of the places you go most often. In later posts I’ll show more ways that you can use your list of favourite places to map your location when you’re out and about, there’s lots of ways now and more being created all the time. I’ll also show you how to make friends with people and how to see the history for people that you’ve already made friends with. For now though I’ll just leave you with a screengrab showing some of my favourites from the center of Liverpool:

  • Welcome to the mapme.at blog

    Welcome everyone to the first post on the MapMe.at blog. I’m in Liverpool, GB as I write this, sat on the sofa at home in fact. Why would you want to know this? Well, perhaps you would like to meet up with me for a drink sometime, if you know I’m in Liverpool that might help with your planning. Perhaps you would like me to do some work for you and want to arrange a meeting, my location will help you to know whether I’m likely to be attending the meeting in person or will be on the end of a telephone.

    How about another scenario, a few months ago I twittered:

    Just rowed many miles down river. Barbecue now then bit more rowing to the beach.

    If you know I live in Liverpool you might find that message a bit odd, have I really been rowing down the River Mersey?? In fact on that day I was halfway through a holiday to southern Turkey and we’d spent the day rowing down the Xanthos River. Being able to know my location when reading my past (or even current) twitters could obviously be useful.

    Finally, here’s a snap taken when I was visiting San Francisco in May:

    Me and the Golden Gate Bridge

    Most people probably know that the Golden Gate Bridge is in San Francisco, but not everyone is going to know that it’s on the South West coast of the United States. Being able to find out where I was when I took a photo is a great way of making it more interesting.

    So there you have it, location is important. Being able to find out where people are now is important, being able to find out where people have been is also important. Why am I telling you this? Well this is what mapme.at is all about. I’ve been tracking my location in various ways for 2 years now. Up to a year ago I was finding it difficult to track myself as much as I would like. I setup mapme.at to try to make things easier, before mapme.at I had a single method that required me to have GPS coverage and to run a Java app on my phone. The original version of the site took this up to three separate ways of logging where I am. There are now 8 ways to log my location on mapme.at and considering one of those methods is Fire Eagle there’s potential for many more. Over the coming days I’ll be writing a few more posts to try to cover all of the ways that you can update your location here, if you’re interested in trying it out head over here for the first of these posts!

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