Monday, January 29, 2007

Does Your Map Fit?

Every so often we see maps that get cut off by the side of a blog or a site template.

It's very easy to fix this problem -- all you need to do is change the map dimensions ("Width" & "Height") in the "Edit Map Properties" popup. That's what I'm doing in the image below. You can change the map to fit just about any template.

For example, this link goes to a huge satellite image of central Moscow. By changing only the width and height, I've embedded two very different versions of the map to this page. (I could have embedded the big image on the page if the Blogger template accommodated 800-pixel-wide images.)

Here's a 400 x 400 version of the image centered on the Kremlin:

And here's a 400 x 2000 version -- a slice of Moscow from one side of the garden ring to the other:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Set Your Atlas Start Page

Here's a tip for folks using Atlas to create a lot of maps of the same region: If you navigate to the region you typically map, open "Edit Map Properties" and click "Set Default", your Atlas account will always open new maps on the default you set.

Our default default is North America, so this will be particularly useful to our European, Asian & Latin American users.

Here's a screen grab of me setting my default to Mauritius (I was reading about Dodos this weekend in the New Yorker).

One other note: Thanks to the folks at the Ball State Daily News, we've discovered that Atlas edit windows aren't appearing in Safari. I'll let you know when this is fixed.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Few Hiccups

Atlas traffic shot up this week after we were picked up by a few blogs in Europe and China. Though we're working on some changes that should make Atlas easier to use, we've been happy to see that the tool is intuitive enough for non-English speakers to figure it out.

We've had a few hiccups handling all this new traffic. Atlas was down during brief periods of heavy use yesterday and again today. We're working to make sure this doesn't happen again, and that we're prepared for continued growth.

We apologize for any problems this caused folks.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or feedback for us.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Accented Characters Now Work

Good news! After a lot of work, Theo pushed live a change this evening that should fix problems handling accented characters.

If you continue to encounter problems, please let us know.

To test the changes, I put together this map highlighting four of my favorite cities with accented or non-Latin characters in their names.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Using the CSV Function

We've had a few questions about adding different icons to an Atlas map.

When you're adding points by hand or the search box, you can add new icons by changing the settings under "Edit Map Properties."

The same things works with the CSV function. That's how I created the map below.

First, I uploaded the red icons, using this basic csv file:

"215 Court St, Brooklyn, NY",Joya,Thai food with a DJ in Cobble Hill
"187 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11201",Sahadi's,Good Middle Eastern groceries
11201,Brooklyn,Brooklyn Heights

Once those points were on the map, I switched the settings to green icons, and added this csv file:

"138 Bergen St.,Brooklyn, NY",Brooklyn Inn
"79 Hoyt St, Brooklyn, NY 11201",Kili

For another example that uses multiple icon-types, check out Baristanet's map of teardowns in Montclair, NJ.

One word of warning: If you start deleting and re-uploading points via the csv function, you may find funky overlapping icons. This is a bug, and it's on our list.

Friday, January 19, 2007

User Contributions vs Wiki Editing

One of the coolest things about the new user contributions feature is wiki editing -- you can actually put up a map and have your community edit it like they would a text-based wiki. As the map owner, you can moderate all of the contributions.

This is a difficult concept to explain in the tool itself, especially since we're trying to avoid clutter and keep Atlas super-clean.

To demonstrate the difference between the two types of editing, I'm posting another version of the Northeastern University map I posted on Tuesday. The one in today's post is identical to the one in Tuesday's post, except wiki-editing is enabled (this option is listed under "Edit Map Properties").

If you click "Contribute to This Map" on the map in this post, you'll see you can click on any point on the map and edit it. In the map from Tuesday, you can still "Contribute to This Map", but you can only add points. You can't edit existing points.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Best Food, Coffee & Beer Near Northeastern

Tomorrow, thanks to the help of Dan Kennedy, I'm doing Atlas user testing at Northeastern University. I'm going to ask everybody to add their favorite bar, restaurant or coffee shop to this map.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Allen's Pond, Dartmouth, MA

A while back Pito Salas clued me in on the beauty of posting simple satellite pictures. This is Allen's Pond near where I grew up in Dartmouth, MA. I was down there this weekend.

Welcome to A.M.O.T.D

Hi! Glad you've found our new blog.

Our plan is to keep this a very simple page about Atlas and all the great things you can do with it.

We'll mostly be posting maps -- some that we've created, some that Atlas users have created and some from other places.

Don't take the name of this blog too literally -- for the time being we expect to be posting three or four times a week.

That's it. Enjoy the maps, and make sure you let us know if you have questions or feedback. We'd love to hear from you.