New Google Maps Plugin Supports Category Icons, HTML5 User Location

plugin-gmaps150The production release of Zap Calendar 3.0 may have been only a few weeks ago, but we already have a beta release available of version 3.1 of the Google Maps plugin.  Available to current Zap Calendar Standard and Pro subscribers, the Google Maps plugin adds mapping capabiltiies to your calendars.  This beta 3.1 release contains the following new features:

  • Support for Google Maps API v3 (plugin version 3.0 and below uses API v2)
  • Use of category icons in the map
  • Use of HTML 5's location feature to automatically locate website visitor and display nearby events

 

 

The Google Maps API v3 is the latest API from Google.  The previous API has been deprecated and Google recommends users switch to v3.  One advantage of the new API is the API key is no longer required as it was in v2.  There is still is an API key available, which can be used with the plugin to track usage of map requests from your website.  You can find more information about this at http://code.google.com/apis/console .

One of the most requested features we received for the Google Maps plugin was the ability to use category icons as map markers.  Version 3.1 supports this with the ability to choose either the standard or small icon set.  Shadows can be added too, giving the image a 3 dimensional look when displayed on the map.  If there is no icon defined for the category, the standard pin using the category color is used instead.

Another feature request (with almost as many requests as the category icon request) was the ability to automatically locate a user's location on the map.  This feature is also available in the 3.1 plugin.  This is accomplished by using the HTML 5 location feature found in many modern browsers today.  When proximity searching and "use my location" option are enabled, the browser will display a dialog box stating the website is requesting your location.  Once the user accepts, the user's location is entered automatically in the location search box for searching nearby events. If this feature is not available with the user's browser, proximity searching can still be done by entering the location manually as in previous versions.  Older browsers and browsers on some smart phones and tablets may not support this standard.  If you live in the United States, you can try out this feature at the AmericanHistoryCalendar.com site in either the People or Events calendars (users outside of the United States can still use the site but you will most likely not find American history events near your location!).

This plugin is now available for download for all current Zap Calendar Standard and Pro subscribers in the Zap Store.  This plugin will work with Zap Calendar version 3.0 installations.