When we set out to create GoFISHn, we decided to puts maps at the heart of all we do because fishing is so much about "place" -- Where the fish are, where the holes and shoals are, where the boat is, and most of all, where we caught the big one.
So we created the update type "map," which allowed our members to create, annotate and publish a map on its own. And in the annotations -- the "markers" -- we made it possible to add text, links and images.
In addition, we added a map to all other update types, including reports, photo galleries, videos, answers, personal bests and so on. We've been really happy to see that the majority of GoFISHn members are attaching maps to their updates.
We also added maps on the relevant GoFISHn Encyclopedia pages, whether that's a country or state, a harbor or lake.
And we were careful to get the location of our members, whether they are businesses or anglers, so we can put them on GoFISHn Maps too.
You get the idea: we know a lot about "places" on GoFISHn, and GoFISHn Maps is the final step: We take all that map data from all our members and our GoFISHn encyclopedia and show it on GoFISHn Maps.
You can sort the information according to what you want to see -- professionals, anglers, updates (photos, reports, video, personal bests), encyclopedia pages, and answers.
Each marker on the map contains a link to the associated GoFISHn page.
And maps can be viewed in three modes -- Satellite (my favorite), Map and Terrain. (More below)
We get GoFISHn visitors to GoFISHn Maps in a variety of ways.
First, there is the GoFISHn Directory, where we give visitors the option to search for members and businesses by either conventional-word-based search or by map.
Second, on all encyclopedia pages with a map illustration, we include a link "Explore Map" that takes you to the GoFISHn Map for that same area that shows all the GoFISHn markers.
Third, when a member creates a map in an update, we include a link "Updates Nearby" that takes the user to a map showing all our information corresponding to the map in the update.
That's our story in maps! We're happy that we got a little nod for our efforts from Google Maps Mania, one of the most popular Google Maps blogs. The technical work here to integrate Google Maps and our own data is no small deal, and we're really grateful to our outstanding tech team at Kaverisoft.