MapCustomizer.com Launches

I have been meaning to overhaul my site that allows you to plot multiple points on Google maps for a long time now, and I am happy to announce that MapCustomizer.com is the result!

2014-05-25 at 2.23 PM 2x

There are a number of new features that people have been asking for, including:

  • It should continue to work, even if the site is busy. In the old site, when things got busy, it would exceed the quota for geocoding addresses with the Google Maps API. In the new site, the geocoding is restructured so this shouldn’t happen. It is still possible for things to slow down if you are creating a large map (and pasting in lots of addresses), but it won’t slow things down for other users.
  • Edit/delete your own maps You can optionally create an account with the new site, and manage maps that you create. You can edit them after creating them, or delete them. Even if you don’t create an account, you can still edit maps that you create, as long as you are still using the same computer and web browser that you used to create them.

    2014-05-25 at 2.44 PM 2x

  • Numbered location markers A lot of people were asking for this. The list of locations shows numbered markers that correspond to the numbered markers on the map. You can print the map out, and still see which location is which.
    2014-05-25 at 2.30 PM 2x
  • General UI improvements I never put too much effort into making the old site look nice, and it showed :). The new site is a lot nicer, in my humble opinion. This leads into…
  • Full-screen map Once the map is created, it takes up almost the full browser window, leaving a little bit of space for the location list.

If you go to the old homepage, you will be automatically redirected to the new site, or you can just go directly here:

MapCustomizer.com

If you are curious about the technology behind the new site, it is written in Scala using the Play Framework. MongoDB provides the persistence layer, and I am using WebJars with RequireJS, and the relevant sbt-web plugins to build everything. It was a great experience to play with WebJars and sbt-web (I am already proficient in Scala, Play, and MongoDB).

As with the old site, it is supported by ads and Paypal contributions. It operates on a value-for-value model: If you find that the site provides you with a value, please consider paying for that value.

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45 Comments

  1. Christa Mazich
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Is there a way to delete locations once they are mapped? I am a sales rep in a new territory with a small company and this program is really helpful. But I will be tweaking my locations as I go so I need to be able to delete. Thanks!

  2. Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Christa

    Sure, you can delete locations by first editing the map, and then clicking the ‘x’ next to the location you wish to remove:

    Then, just save the map (keeping the name the same, so it overwrites the existing map).

    Hope that helps!

  3. Brenda
    Posted July 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I cannot figure out how to save a map. I did get all the points on the map, but that is as far as I can get.

  4. Brenda
    Posted July 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Just found it.. sorry!

  5. Sheila
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I just typed in 50 locations but can’t figure out how to get the map back! I even saved it. Thought I was going to have to redo it, but when I tried to give it the same name it said “This map is already taken.” When I click on My Maps, it doesn’t come up. Hope you can help.

  6. Posted August 28, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi Sheila

    The only map I can find associated with your account (I searched using the email you gave on the comment) is Central New York District of the Wesleyan Church, but it only has 5 locations.

    If you used the ‘bulk creation’ tab, it is possible that the addresses were still geocoding when you hit ‘save’. There should be a spinner on top of the address entry form while the geocoding is happening to indicate that it is still working, but I should add a check to prevent the map from saving while this is happening.

  7. makk
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Is there a way to save a map to my iPhone? When I travel I’d like to be able to access it even when I don’t have internet. Thanks!

  8. Mike
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I’ve plotted several coordinates (DD MM.SSS) and they seem to be plotting the nearest street address which is meters away from the destination that I am trying to locate. Is there a way to have the coordinates posted. I am plotting readings taken from my hand held GPS.

  9. Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Makk

    The only way you can save the map for offline use is to use your browser’s ‘print’ function to save it as a PDF file. You can then take that file and open it on your phone. It won’t be as fully-featured as the online version (you can’t zoom in/out, or scroll around, since those operations need to contact Google to get the map data), but it is better than nothing.

    Hope that helps!

  10. Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mike

    Try entering the locations as decimal coordinates, rather than minutes & seconds. The code isn’t smart enough to handle both formats right now.

    Thanks!

  11. Lynnette G
    Posted November 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    How DO you save a map? I can’t find any directions or buttons or any way to save it to an online link. I printed what I had and saved as a PDF, but the online map is now GONE! Plus, I did not get numbers for the locations to show up… I created it before I signed up, so maybe I’m screwed. And I still can’t find directions. :-(

    thank you

  12. Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lynnette

    To save a map, just click the save button:

    You will have a chance to choose a name for the map, or you can leave the field blank, and a random gibberish name will be generated. Once the map is saved, it will reappear, this time with the numbered markers.

    Hope that helps,
    Patrick

  13. pramod
    Posted November 22, 2014 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    Hi,
    I have created a map and make the locations i want. But how can i embed this map for my website. Before it i normally uses iframes for that. Here in what way i should go?

  14. Posted November 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi Pramod

    Once you created a map, you can link to it from your website. The service is not designed to make it easy to embed maps in your own site. For that, I suggest you read up on the Google Maps API documentation.

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  15. Candice
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Is there away to remove the numbered location markers and just have a solid location maker?

  16. Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Hi Candace

    No, it isn’t possible to have an unnumbered marker right now. I am working on some ways to support different colored markers, so will see if I can incorporate a way to turn off the numbers into that work.

  17. Phyllis
    Posted December 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Love your site. Is there a way to rearrange the addresses?
    Is there a way to print out directions from address to address?
    Any other helpful hints? I have it saved nicely.
    Thanks

  18. Posted December 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phyllis

    I’m glad you like the site! To answer your questions, there is no way to rearrange the points, except by removing them, and re-adding them in the desired order. This is something that a few people have asked for, though, so I’d like to add the feature when I get a chance. You can print the map using your browser’s built-in ‘print’ functionality, but there is no directions feature (again, this is a pretty commonly-requested feature, and it is on my to-do list).

    Hope that helps!

  19. Mauro
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    How hard would it be to add an x mile radius around a certain plot? i know you do this in your spare time so that is just a question.

    This would be really helpful for my job!

  20. Posted January 14, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mauro

    That is an interesting question, though I am not sure how useful it would be for the average user of my site. I don’t think it would be technically difficult to do, but my main concern is that one-off features that are only relevant to a small number of users would clutter the user experience, and make it difficult for everyone else to use the site.

    That said, for your specific application, you could probably do it pretty easily with the Google Maps API directly (depending on how technical you are).

  21. ud
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:21 am | Permalink

    Is there a feature to join the plotted points..

  22. Mike
    Posted February 6, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    This is a great tool and many thanks for the creation. I am looking for a way to edit the descriptions I have entered in a saved map. Is that possible?

  23. Posted February 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mike

    It is not possible to edit descriptions directly, but it is possible to edit the entire map, and then remove or add points from the map. So, you can kind of accomplish the same goal, by removing the old locations, and adding the modified locations. It isn’t a smooth process, though. I plan to make this easier to manage in the future.

    Thanks!

  24. Posted February 7, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ud

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘join the plotted points’. If you mean to combine the points from two maps into a single map, no, that is not possible.

  25. Bliss
    Posted February 20, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Patrick,
    I came upon this mapping tool while looking to discover a centralized meeting place for members of an organization I belong to. It was a great help–and everyone appreciated being able to see (and therefore understand) why we needed to meet in a certain area of the city (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)!
    So, that said, I think that a radius tool where one might place a separate flag marker and then have mileage or range radius indicators overlay the map and address points would be of great use to people doing a similar thing. I don’t speak techie, so I’m hoping you can “get” my drift … :-)
    In any event, thank you much for your work on this tool. It is very useful!
    B

  26. Alvin
    Posted February 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I sent you a PM and i thought I’d post the Q here as well. I’d like to share the maps I created with my friend via text/email. I noticed the links aren’t unique. How do I go about sharing my maps? BTW, love your site! Discovered it a couple days ago and have been using it to plot out points of interest from my past traveling! Thanks again!

  27. Posted February 24, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bliss

    It seems more and more people are asking for this sort of radius tool. I will add it to my list of enhancements for the site.

    Thanks!

  28. Posted February 24, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi Alvin

    To share the map, first save it by clicking on this button:

    Then, a dialog will appear to let you choose a name for the map. The name will be used as part of the URL for the map. Alternatively, you can leave the name field blank, and a random gibberish name will be generated. Then, the map will reload with the URL in the address bar. You can copy that address and share it via email, facebook, twitter, carrier pigeon, morse code, etc :)

  29. Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I created a map and it saved. It would not save a second map. I have redone it 45 times ; ) but no save ever. (Yes, I saw from above, it did not appear to still be geocoding.) Thoughts?

    Thanks.

  30. Dale
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I have a need to bulk load a large number of addresses, and have them displayed on a map. The load and plotting work fine, but the map fails to save – probably because of too many addresses. The current number is around 400 addresses. Any work around?

    Btw – love the tool!!

  31. Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Amy & Dale

    There was a bug in handling saves & updates to large maps, which I just fixed. Please give it another shot. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    -Patrick

  32. Richard van t Land
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    What a great site you made, very nice! I was mapping some addresses for a hobby project and the bulk creation works really well.

    One big improvement for me would be when it is made possible to enter the preferred marker color per address. Now it plotts all addresses to the default color, where it would be nice when i can add something like or behind every address line?

    Thnks already for the current version & looking forward to the next!

  33. Lou Pollard
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Patrick, love this tool but it does not save, I have 15 locations and trying to add locations and I have tried over and over and they do not save, I see someone above had the same issue and you stated that it was fixed. Checking to see if my problem is the same or maybe I am doing something wrong.

  34. Posted March 20, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I’d like to access the maps from my android phone. When I go the to URL, it comes up, but half the screen is an ad. Is there a way to eliminate the ad (pay for subscription etc)?

  35. Posted March 21, 2015 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Richard

    (I replied via email too, but I may as well reply here in case other people are interested.) That’s a great idea; I think a couple other people have suggested something similar. I imagine that you have discovered that you can change the color of individual markers on mapcustomizer.com (but I realize this isn’t a great solution when you are pasting in large bunches of addresses into the bulk entry tab):

    I will work on implementing a way to specify the marker color while bulk-importing addresses (similar to how you can specify the description of the location).

  36. Posted March 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lou

    When you paste in a bunch of addresses, the site needs to convert these addresses to latitude & longitude coordinates. To do this, it makes a background request to a service run by Google Maps. There is a limit to the number of such requests that one person can make in a short period of time, so when it hits this limit, it will pause before sending the next request. When this happens, you will see a spinning icon over the bulk entry area, and it may appear as if nothing is happening. If you scroll to the bottom of the location list, though, you should see that one or two new locations are added to the list every couple of seconds. If you let it sit long enough, it will look up all of your addresses, and the spinner will disappear from the bulk entry area.

    Does this sound like what you are seeing, or are you having a different problem?

  37. Posted March 21, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi Larry

    I will see if I can make the ads smaller on mobile phones.

  38. Danielle Hardy
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to say how awesome this website is, I am not sure how I stumbled upon it, but it is perfect for my wedding venue research! I have plotted all the venues and can easily see which are close to each other so I can see them in one day!
    I love this and will be using again for sure!

  39. Posted May 4, 2015 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Hi!

    First of all, love your site! I use it almost daily and the bulkadress is a really awesome feature. The radius/distance that some people have suggested really sounds like a good idea as well with being able to colorcode markes at the bulkimport-stage.

    i would also love to see a function where you can select two of the points and get a suggestion on how to travel between those selected points using google maps if its possible, or even select multiple points and one “goal” to see which travelroute thats the fastet. Not sure if its possible or not or the amount work it needs to get it done. Thought i’d just put it here for your consideration.

    Keep up the great work!

  40. Charisse
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I love this. Thank you for creating such a simple way to pinpoint addresses without the directions line you get with Google Maps with multiple locations.

    What I usually do is print screen and then alter in a free photo software called Gimp.

    The problem I am running into is the right side of the screen that holds all my addresses. Is there a way to minimize them? Screenshot: https://flic.kr/p/seH1cz

    I have to zoom way out and it diminishes the area I’m trying to show but if I could minimize those it’d be perfect.

    If not, I’ll work with what I got but if I’m missing something, please let me know. I really appreciate your help.

    ~C

  41. Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi Charisse

    There isn’t currently a way to minimize the address listing, but you might want to try experimenting with the print view. To print a map, you can use your browser’s built-in print functionality. You may need to adjust the zoom level and/or move the map a bit to ensure all of the locations are visible (because printer paper and computer screens are generally a different shape). You can use the print preview feature to help with this, so you don’t have to waste paper. You can also use the print-to-PDF functionality if you want a PDF copy of it.

    In the print view, the address listing will appear below the map, so it might not get in the way as much.

    Hope that helps!

  42. Cheryl
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    thank you. I have 300 places I have to visit once a month. you’re mapping lets me visualize it & then I use mapquest travel bulk loader to map 26 at a time.

    I realize I have to go slower loading the map as I tried to load it alphabeticly by city but it didn’t end that way.

    What I would LOVE LOVE LOVE…. would be if I could click on the bubble on the map & change the color instead of trying to find it on the list. I attempt to change the color when I pick the places to visit for the day & then I attempt to change it to gray when I’ve finished.
    thank you again

  43. Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Cheryl

    That is a great idea! I’ve been thinking about how to structure the user interface to allow editing the locations on the map (not just the colors, but make it possible to edit the description, or even the address as well), and editing in the location bubble is not something I had thought of. It makes a lot of sense, though.

    Thanks!

  44. Meredith
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi Patrick,

    A few extra addresses popped up on my map and I can’t seem to delete them. It was addresses in other cities that match the street address. I’ve already saved them map. It doesn’t matter if I edit or where I click. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Meredith

    P.S. I am so thankful for your site – I believe it will make all of my running around that I do on a regular basis much more efficient.

  45. Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Meredith, I’m glad you like the site!

    To remove the erroneous locations, first go to the My Maps page, and click the ‘edit’ link next to your map. Then, just click the ‘X’ next to the wrong addresses:

    Don’t forget to save your map after editing, and you should be all set!

    Hope that helps,
    Patrick

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