Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

Creating a User-Contributed Map

I've written a guide to creating a user contributed Google Map using Google Spreadsheets and the new Google Forms service. The article is posted on the official Google Maps API blog today:

Official Google Maps API Blog: Creating a User-Contributed Map: Look, Ma - No server side scripts!

The guide is a more detailed walk-through of the guide I published on this blog a couple of weeks ago.

Using forms for Google Spreadsheets with a Google Map to get contributors to enter geographical information into a database is a really good idea (if I do say so myself) and does demonstrate what is possible with forms. However I don't think that the web community has yet woken up to the power of forms for Google Spreadsheets.

Here are a Couple of More Ways that Forms Could be Used

One problem that bloggers and website owners have is giving out their e-mail. If you publish an e-mail address on a webpage it is quickly picked up by spammer bots and you are just as quickly inundated with spam. On this blog people often want to tell me about other Google Maps mashups but they can't work out my e-mail from the big clue at the bottom of the left hand column.

One thing I could do is create a form for a Google Spreadsheet and then cut and paste part of the code into this page - kind of like this (but don't try it yet).

Name of Google Map

Web Address

Enter information in those text boxes and the information will be sent to my spreadsheet. However there is one problem with this solution. If you press the submit button you are sent to Google's 'Thank You' page (go ahead and try it - just use your browser's back button to return to this post). The problem is I'm not sure I really want my readers redirected away from my site.

Instead I could create a link to open a new window - like this:
Submit a Map

There are of course many other ways that forms for Google Spreadsheets could be used. One that immediately springs to mind is creating a form that would collect reader's e-mails, but really the possibilities are endless.