By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What’s up with Google maps?

I’m looking for help with, or at least an explanation for, why I can’t create a Google map — something I’ve done a number of times before. I spent the better part of last night and this morning on it, and I’m ready to tear my hair out.

The problem is that the map I keep trying to create is not sticky. I create it, I save it, but then, when I go back to it, it’s showing a different map. And the link it generates is completely inconsistent, sometimes taking me to the middle of the country. (Mind you, the map I want has Northeastern University in the middle of it.)

This is for an in-class project we’re doing on Monday, so I really need to solve the problem. It is essentially the same project I did a little more than a year ago without incident, so, despite my ability to screw up even the simplest of tech tasks, I’m inclined to think it’s not me.

Have you heard anything? Do you have any suggestions?

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  1. I don’t have any suggestions on this problem, but I have a question in a similar vein. I’m looking for an app that can parse a word document (say, a health department inspection of a restaurant) and create a map with the information on it. I’d like to begin doing this with a number of local government documents – building permit applications, liquor license violations, etc. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  2. Mike Stucka

    Brian: You need to get it into a spreadsheet first. There’s some ways of doing that automagically, but they tend to be complicated and pricey.

    Once you’ve got it in the spreadsheet, it’s easier.

    Check out this tutorial on FMAtlas, for example.

    FMAtlas started dropping lots of points on me.

    Last thing I tried was Google Docs with Google Fusion Tables — worked 2/3 times, but the problematic one was a trainwreck and a half.

  3. Mike Stucka

    … actually, on second look, you might be able to do it without a spreadsheet, but you’ll need to learn some programming, e.g., PyUNO.

    Try finding a Python forum and asking there for suggestions (preferably turnkey). Python is really, really good for text processing.

  4. Why don’t you call their tech support and ask?

    Oh, wait …

    Hmmm; maybe there are *some* drawbacks to using free stuff online.

  5. Dan,

    Google was having problems yesterday — there “News” was not updatable for several hours and I was also having problems getting my Gmail to update. Perhaps that was your problem as well.

    Is it any better today?

    Irv Arons

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Irv: I’m going to try later today. That’s encouraging news. Thanks.

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