Real-time tracking devices have a lot of features for integration into blog pages and social media platforms. However what works in theory, may not always work in practice. Here I attempt to do various things with the Delorme SE 2-way Communicator. This is not a review on the device so far (which I like a lot over the SPOT), but rather my trials and tribulations as I try to embed real-time maps into web pages and social media.
Sharing with a link
The simplest way to share an outright map is through the map share link. My Delorme ‘Map Share’ name is ‘adventures': https://share.delorme.com/adventures. Unlike the SPOT, you only get one map share and if you change the name of it, past links will break.
Limiting the Date/Data Range (Note does not work currently, the user needs to change the date filters on the map share page when they visit)
Specific Date Range: Unless you change it within the admin panel, the map will show data from across all time. We need to modify it..passing it a date range so it doesn’t show everything under the sun – like maybe the S2 Everest Base Camp Trek in the first part of October: https://share.delorme.com/adventures?d1=2013-10-01T06:00Z&d2=2013-10-16T06:00Z
All days starting from a certain time point: This should be possible merely by removing the second part of the parameters passed in the url: https://share.delorme.com/adventures?d1=2013-12-01T06:00Z
Using an Iframe and Delorme’s Map Engine
And the simplest way to embed the map is through an iframe, this is essentially a piece of html code that pulls in content from another website. Think of it like a little information window frame. (please view the source code on this page).
Embedded with Google Earth with your KML Feed.
But the data from DeLorme can also be integrated into google earth. Delorme provides a ‘feed’ (think of it like a gushing pipe with your data in a format called KML) that you can output to your web page using a google earth viewer (instructions on finding your feed). Note that not everyone has the google earth plugin installed in their browser, but it should at least default to a 2d map (please let me know if you have issues on this page!). My raw feed is: https://explore.delorme.com/feed/Share/adventures
Note: This is a little confusing, but Delorme provides two different KML feeds, they advise me a different one, a ‘KML loader’ feed: ‘https://explore.delorme.com/feed/ShareLoader/adventures‘ is actually best suited for google earth, but I find the raw one
If you follow this link for my raw feed https://explore.delorme.com/feed/Share/adventures, it will probably just result in a file download called ‘feed.kml’ and if you have google earth on your computer, then you can open my file and see where I am in google earth. But we want to skip all these steps and show it embedded right here on a web page. How to do that? The answer is that we use the google earth gadget to generate the embed code. A good tutorial (also for other embeds types like tours, flat maps) is available from google and the direct link to the gadget can be found here.
It is important to realize that if you use the KML loader link as is, it will only display the last location. You need to add parameters to the URL to modify that (more info)
So our KML feed link for the Everest Base Camp Trek in early October, 2013 then becomes: https://explore.delorme.com/feed/Share/adventures?d1=2013-10-01T06:00Z&d2=2013-10-16T06:00Z Using this feed in the google earth gadget, we can generate some code to paste into this blog (using the html view) and wahoo! Note that it can take a few seconds for the data to load, but the map should zoom in and show the data points.
Embedding a flat google map with a KML feed.
This should be easy, but it isn’t. According to this tutorial, the following link should work. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=https://explore.delorme.com/feed/Share/adventures And it does, as does my KML Loader feed: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=https://explore.delorme.com/feed/ShareLoader/adventures However they only show the latest location.
Thinking this may be like the google earth embedding – let’s try to add date parameters to see if we get a range of data:
With the date parameters, it says it can’t find my file.’ https://maps.google.com/maps?q=https://explore.delorme.com/feed/Share/adventures?d1=2013-10-01T06:00Z&d2=2013-10-16T06:00Z
Trying this with the KML Loader doesn’t work either, though it does show my latest location: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=https://explore.delorme.com/feed/ShareLoader/adventures?d1=2013-10-01T06:00Z&d2=2013-10-16T06:00Z
Notes on twitter etc.