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I thought people might be interested to know how I have customised my BlogMap as seen at the bottom of my sidebar (visible on the right of my blog’s home page).
Does your blog include a BlogMap? If you visit feedmap.net and submit your blog, you too can have a standard BlogMap Badge like mine shown here.
Using FeedMap you can geo-code your blog, browse already geo-coded blogs and search for blogs. Geo-coding is simple; in most cases you will only need to enter your address. Once geo-coded, you can get your own BlogMap location using a simple url that allows you to network with your local bloggers and much more.
Here’s the code for my standard BlogMap Badge:
Neighbours who Blog
Now, it’s not immediately obvious, but if you click on the number following “Local Blogs :”, you will get a larger map showing the location of neighbouring bloggers. The NeighBlog map includes links to neighbouring blogs along with their exact lattitude and longitude.
I can see that I am located at 27.6505728546926 degrees South, 153.179737270527 degrees East. I can also see that I’d better not say anything on my blog that upsets any nation with access to cruise missiles or ICBMs. Although, they will need my altitude as well. Does anybody know whether Google Earth or Virtual Earth betrays that?
Great though it is, the standard BlogMap Badge is a bit cumbersome. It uses fonts and colours which aren’t used elsewhere on my blog. The map is a bit skinny and my long name (MikeFitz) wraps off to the side. I would also prefer that clicking on the map took visitors to the expanded Neighbouring Blogs map. I think visitors would find this behaviour more intuitive.
The first clue as to how to fix this comes from the blog of Chandu Thota, himself, creator of BlogMap and author of the book Programming MapPoint in .NET. I also note that Dr Neil has done something similar.
I’ve taken this a couple of steps further by generating a slightly wider image and adding my own heading and links which are then consistent in style with the rest of the site. Here’s the code for what you see in my sidebar:
<li><h2>My BlogMap</h2> <ul> <li> by <a href="http://www.feedmap.net" title="feedmap.net">feedmap.net</a></li> <li> <a href="http://www.feedmap.net/blogmap/neighblogs.aspx?feed=http://mike.brisgeek.com/feed/" title="Click to see a map showing local Bloggers"> <img src="http://www.csthota.com/blogmap/blogapi.ashx?method=blogmap&feed=http://mike.brisgeek.com/feed/&height=250&width=175&label=MikeFitz" alt="Click to see a map showing local Bloggers" /> </a> </li> <li><a href="http://www.feedmap.net/blogmap/neighblogs.aspx?feed=http://mike.brisgeek.com/feed/" title="Map showing local Bloggers">» Bloggers Nearby</a></li> </ul> </li>
A Future BlogMap
A feature I would like to see on a future BlogMap would be the ability to promote selected Good Neighbours on the NeighBlog list, over-riding the default sort by distance. At the same time, I would like to demote or even exclude some Bad Neighbours (spam, even malware, websites posing as blogs). For example:
Good Neighbours whom I am happy to promote. Visitors to my blog will also find these blogs of interest:
- secretGeek (a.k.a. Leon Bambrick. Oops, did that let the secret out?)
- alpesh on Sharepoint Portal Server, Windows Sharepoint Services, Project Server
- Kristian Kalsing on Enterprise Portal Solutions
- William Bartholomew’s William.Blog()
- Kieran Jacobsen’s Blog
Bad Neighbours whom I would like to mark as inappropriate:
- Have a look at my NeighBlog map. You will see that I have a neighbour to my West whose blog has no name but promises “easy cash”. Yeah, right! Strangely, this “blogger” is also located in other capital cities.
- On about pages 13 to 15 of Frank Arrigo’s NeighBlog map there is a nasty cluster of malware sites and Google-bombing linkfests. The world would be a better place without these.