One of the projects I have been working on recently required Google Maps to be integrated into the Store Locator for the site. Based on some preliminary reading this didn’t seem like it would be too much trouble. Little did I know!
This isn’t going to be a post detailing how to go about adding Google Map functionality to you site as there are already plenty of posts about this out there. Check out Tom Taylor, Andre Lewis or Juxie’s posts just to name a few. This post is solely to help others avoid the problems I have had.
Initially when adding the Google Maps functionality the Google geocoding for UK addresses and post codes verging on the unusable. For this reason I opted to use Yahoo’s geocoding as it offered accurate results. Or so I thought. All seemed to be well until every now and again anomolies would pop up, with stores appearing upto half a mile away from their actual location. This was due to Yahoo not recognising the whole address provided and defaulting to a “nearby location”. Obviously this is not good enough for if customers are going to use the store locator to find its stores.
Luckily, while I was troubleshooting this matter today I stumbled across a post by Pamela Fox stating that Google have released a new Map API to works with UK post codes and addresses! Excellent! Since Geokit, the plugin I use to carry out the geocoding, supports Google out of the box I just needed to change a few lines of code, tinker about a little with my geocoding functions and hey presto! A full working, acurate UK compatible Google Mapping service :-).