Tech Comm on a Map
Update on October 14th, 2018: Hallo folks, I’ve decided to take down Tech Comm on a Map—this means I’ll remove the web page and unpublish the Android app. The web page will remain available until the end of November, to give people time to fix up any pages that are using it. The Android app will remain installed on your device if you’ve previously installed it, but it won’t be available for new installations. My blog post has more information.
Update on December 1st, 2018: I’ve just removed the map from the web app, replacing it with a message saying that Tech Comm on a Map is no longer available.
Technical communicators love to know what’s happening in their area of expertise around the world. What better way to show it, than on a map? Tech Comm on a Map (available on the web and as an Android app) puts technical communication titbits onto an interactive map, together with the data and functionality provided by Google Maps.
You can use this online form to add an item to the map.
Tech Comm on a Map (Android) is also available as an Android app.
What’s on the map?
Tech Comm on a Map (both the web and the Android app) contains information of the following types, all related to technical writing and technical communication:
- Conferences, categorised by year.
- Societies, including societies and associations.
- Groups for smaller groups and regular meet-ups of technical communicators, either as part of a larger society/association, or as an independent group.
- Businesses for commercial organisations specialising in tech comm, such as consultancies, recruiters, publishers, independent technical writers, and so on.
- Courses for educational programs and technical communication courses. The map shows only courses that are long-term or repeated. It’s not practical to show short, once-off workshops, webinars, or seminars.
- Other, a grab bag to catch anything that doesn’t fit into the above categories.
To see the information for an event or any of the item types, click or tap 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.
There’s also an option to choose the type of information shown on the map. For example, if you only want to see the 2016 conferences, de-select all the other types.
Would you like to embed the map onto your own web page?
You can add an interactive version of the map onto a web page using an HTML iFrame. This screenshot shows an example of the code:
I’ve used a screenshot, because WordPress won’t let me add the full code to this post. 🙂 For ease of copying, here’s what’s inside the iFrame element:
Do you have some items to add to the map?
Use the Tech Comm on a Map Android app, or this online form, to add an item to the map. The item can be a conference, society, group, business, educational course, or other titbit that technical writers will find interesting. Any items you add will be saved for moderation, and will appear on the map once they’ve passed review.
The form will prompt you for the following information:
- Type: Conference, Society, Group, Business, Course, or Other.
- Name of the business, group, society, course, conference, or other thing.
- Website address.
- Street address (this is essential, to position the item on the map).
- Start and end date (optional).
Note: Don’t add the names or addresses of any individuals, unless it’s your own name and address. We need to ensure we have people’s permission before adding their information in a comment on this page or on the map. Any information you add here should be already publicly available on an organisation’s website or other publication.
Where is the data stored?
The data is held in a Google Docs spreadsheet, which looks like this:
A few people have access to update the spreadsheet . (See the section below about contributors.) Any data added to the spreadsheet appears on the map immediately.
How does Tech Comm on a Map work?
More on the Android app coming soon!
Contributors to the project
Thanks to the following people who contributed data to the map at the start of the project, helping me to get it started: Sarah O’Keefe, Ellis Pratt, Stefan Eike, Richard Hamilton, Nils Bier, Tom Johnson, Vadim Popov.
- The code on GitHub: Tech Comm on a Map.
- The web page on GitHub: Tech Comm on a Map.
- Featured on the Google Geo Developers’ Blog: Putting your Professional Group on the Map.
- The introductory blog post on 7 May 2014: Introducing tech comm on a map.
- Announcing two new data types: Tech Comm on a Map now includes businesses and groups
- 2015 conferences added: Tech comm 2015 now on the map
- Educational programs and courses now in Tech Comm on a Map
- New on 2 May 2015: You can add data to the map via a form
- On 15 August 2015: Fledgling Android app for Tech Comm on a Map
- Android app launched, Feb 2016: New Android app for the technical writing community
- The map is ready for 2017 events, August 2016.
- New feature, August 2016: Share a tech comm location on the web.
- New feature, October 2016: Share a tech comm location from the Android app.
- 2018 conferences now open on the map, December 2017.
Although I work at Google, this app is not a Google product.