Tech Blech

Monday, March 27, 2006

baby steps with Google maps apps

I recently wrote my first Google map applications for learning purposes. The most challenging part of these applications (warning--they are still very unpolished) was not in calling the Google Maps API, but rather, in figuring out how to call the free web geocoder service offered at http://rpc.geocoder.us/ to get an address converted to latitude and longitude. I wanted to call it asynchronously (not knowing how long it might take to return a value) and this is a poorly documented matter that required quite of bit of exploration on the Microsoft website and various experiments. Also, I had to read the fine print on the geocoder website until I located the correct WSDL file for C# which someone had kindly posted (http://rpc.geocoder.us/dist/eg/clients/GeoCoder.wsdl in case anyone cares).

Not unlike a monkey typing at a keyboard, I finally got the geocoder call to work. You can find all the code for the geocoder call via links on the site at http://harbormist.com/maps/lookup/. The code is rough (I may update it shortly) but maybe posting it will help someone else get over the learning hump.

My other little mashups are at http://harbormist.com/maps/, which deliniates PJ's Pancake House in Princeton, and http://harbormist.com/maps/PrincetonCoffee/, which shows three good coffee places right in Princeton.

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