Introducing Tech Comm on a Map
I’ve been working on a personal project, and I’m delighted to say it’s ready to share with you! The idea is to help us see what’s happening around the globe, in the world of technical communication. So I’ve put tech comm titbits onto an interactive map, together with the data and functionality automatically provided by Google Maps. To see it in action, go to Tech Comm on a Map.
At the time of writing this post, Tech Comm on a Map contains information of the following types, all related to technical writing and technical communication:
- Conferences (purple circles)
- Societies (yellow circles) – includes societies and associations.
- Other (blue circles) – a grab bag to catch anything that doesn’t fit into the first two categories. This is also the default category for data items that aren’t correctly categorised.
To find the information, click one of the coloured circles on the map. You can also zoom into a particular city or address, by entering the place name or address in the search box.
Where does the data come from?
It’s all in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Up to now, I’ve collected and entered the data myself. I’ve scoured the Web for information about conferences. I’ve also added just a few societies, and a couple of ‘other’ items to prove the category exists. The spreadsheet looks like this:
What’s the plan for adding more data and maintaining what’s there?
My plan is to invite a few people to help update the spreadsheet that holds the data. Any data added to the spreadsheet appears on the map immediately. It’s pretty cool!
How does it work?
I’ll write another post soon, with more details about the code and the APIs.
Am I planning to add anything more to the project?
There is plenty of potential for enhancements. For example, we could add more categories to the existing three (conferences, societies, and other) to include events like technical writers’ group meetings. We could add styling to the map. And other sweetening we can think of…
A number of people have already made some exciting suggestions for v2. The project is open source, so if you have an improvement to suggest, send me a pull request.
I’d love to know what you think of the map, and whether you’re excited about adding more events and other types of tech comm titbits! If you’d like to share your ideas, please add comments to this post.