Locater maps are easy with Google

Ah, locater maps — useful for print, but not all that useful for online unless they’re somehow interactive (or it least easily printable, but still …).

So why not partner up with the Google Maps to add easy locaters to stories? It takes about two minutes, and it gives your readers a portal to perhaps the best mapping site on the Internet (sorry MapQuest, but I’ve changed my loyalties). From there, they can check out the street view of the place (or, better yet, show it on your site), map themselves a route to the place (very handy for events and sports stories) or even begin searching for more information on the subject they want.

Here are some cool examples of our office building in Lee Hills Hall at the University of Missouri:

Nice street view of ol’ Lee Hills. Now, here’s the map version that will help you come visit us (just in case you ever want to buy us lunch. We don’t mind).

View Larger Map

It’s easy to create. Just type your address into Google Maps, then look for the link button right above the map.

Google1

After hitting the link button, you’ll have the chance to either grab the standard HTML or customize it. Here’s the standard HTML:

Grab the HTML here

Grab the HTML here

Here’s what you get when you hit the customize button. I’ve set this one to 600 pixels wide, which is our standard media size at ColumbiaMissourian.com.

Google3

How much time will this save the average graphics staff? Better yet, a graphics staff free of locater work can work on bigger projects — like more interactive elements for the Web, for instance.

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