June, 2013 Archives

Discover local bike shops with Bike Shop Mapper. This web page puts nearby bike shops on a full-page map. There are three ways to pick a location: by allowing the program to get your mobile device’s current location, by entering the name of a place (or ZIP code) into the “Places Autocomplete” input, or by panning the map and pressing “find bike shops.”

The data comes from Google’s list of places with “bicycle store” entered as a category. They have bike shops all over the world, but only if the shop has a page on Google+.

The bike icons will be light green if the shop is currently open, dark green if closed, and medium green if unknown. » Continue Reading…

marketsDo you wish you could discover local farmers markets as you visited new places? Here’s a web app that makes it easy: the Market Mapper application. It uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture of all farmers markets in the U.S.A.

The program uses your current location to display the closest farmers markets. You can also type a place in the “location” field. As you pan the map, hit “find markets” to look for more locations. » Continue Reading…

You know what’s wrong with the Olympics? They happen only once every four years, and they never take place in my backyard. Luckily, Washington, DC has its own version, the Summer Games, the eponymous annual event from local drag queen Summer Camp. The 2013 version was modeled after Game of Thrones, and dubbed the Summer Game of Thrones, with a medieval theme.

2013 Summer Games
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Summer Games in Meridian Hill Park

I’ve been looking for ways to let users play with data on a web page. It was time to explore the D3 library for JavaScript. I’d previously used D3 to create a Voronoi Diagram of CaBi Stations, but that was written by modifying an existing piece of code. How hard would it be to create my own D3 program?

I had seen beautiful, interactive bar charts written in D3, and wanted to create my own. At d3js.org you’ll find many great examples.

Every D3 function is available as a method to the global “d3” object. JavaScript doesn’t actually have classes, so when I call something a method, it’s really an object property that happens to be a function. Most D3 methods return objects that themselves have methods available, and it’s typical to see these methods chained together. My beef with the D3 API Reference is that it doesn’t tell you what pseudo class a method returns, so it’s hard to learn without studying copious examples. » Continue Reading…

I work with maps a lot, and always need to figure out the latitude and longitude of a point. My go-to method has been Google Maps, but it seems that the next version of Google Maps will not have this feature.

In the current version, you can right-click on the map and select “What’s here?” from the menu. It’ll then put the latitude and longitude in the search box. The new version doesn’t have a right-click menu at all (at least not the current preview version).

I wrote a little app called Spot Picker to let you quickly find the coordinates for any spot. The program is super-simple; there a “Places Autocomplete” field that lets you quickly enter the name of a place to zoom to. Or, just zoom and pan using the normal map controls. As you move your mouse over the map, the latitude and longitude appear on the banner. Once you click the map, the coordinates freeze so you can copy and paste the coordinates. That’s it!

How can developers take advantage of the new Google Maps that Google is now previewing? They have not announced a new API, but they do have a way you can make your maps look more like the future version.

With one line of code, programs that use the Google Maps API can swutch to a version that looks more modern:

google.maps.visualRefresh = true;

As explained in the Geo Developers Blog, the changes mostly involve new colors, a new shadowless default red pin and infobox, and minor changes to the controls. » Continue Reading…

I still have to explain what Tour de Fat is. No, it is not fat people on tour. It’s New Belgium Brewing‘s celebration of beer and bikes, named after their Fat Tire ale. We had a beautiful and surprisingly hot day in Yards Park. Washington, DC’s bike community came out, many in goofy costumes, for the games and the bands. Oh, and the beer. The performance schedule promised the best for last, and indeed delivered, with a giant inflatable albino squid taking the stage, followed by an appearance by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who was promptly captured in between giant pieces of chocolate and a graham cracker. Photos below.

2013 Tour de Fat
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2013 Tour de Fat