Usage Hints for site locator maps

These Hints do not apply to regional locator maps, which have their own Help option available directly from the map.


Quick Tips

Site locator maps are produced from links on site data pages, and are designed to show you where that site is located (as best we can determine).  As of October 2010, there are three online mapping services which we use worldwide, each having its own advantages (and disadvantages): For specific help with other other mapping services (used locally or regionally), or for more general information about our usage of maps, keep reading...

Navigation: Jump past Temporary Notes to More Quick Tips


Temporary Notes

2006/02/26-2008/06/16 - In spite of my best efforts, it has not been possible to maintain uniformly styled locator maps for all site data pages on this Website.  The disappearance of the online mapping service which was used in the earliest years forced a change to an alternate service with significantly different capabilities; but before the hundreds of then-existing pages could all be retrofitted with new map links, that service disappeared as well.  It has taken months to find a practical and satisfactory alternative.  (For the sordid details, see the Map Service History.)  As a result, the site data pages (of which there are now more than 1600) present a confusing mix of functional and broken map links in a variety of styles.  Furthermore, this page which you are now reading has had to be split into several pages (one for each of the various services used over time), and now suffers from the consequent schizophrenia.  Please accept my apologies for the disorder you will find here (not that you have any choice!), and keep an eye on the What's New page for further developments.   /s/ CSZ

Current status (as of Oct.2006, updated to Oct.2010) of pages older than March 2006:

For all of the above situations, the map links are found in the "*Links:" section of the page, between the external links (if any) and the internal links (to index pages on this Website).

Current status (as of June 2008) of some pages newer than March 2006:

Current status (as of October 2010) of all pages:

Planned changes (all now in progress - in parallel, not in sequence):


NOTE:   If you want broken map links for the page about your own carillon or chime to be replaced quickly, you should use the email link at the bottom of that page to submit a significant addition to or correction of the information on that page.  In the short term, pages will rarely be revised solely to correct broken map links.


Many of these Quick Tips are obsolete (see "Temporary" Notes above). 
Some BROKEN map links can be quickly identified by a "missing graphic" symbol or the text "[lost icon]" visible in the page.
But MapsOnUs links are also broken in the sense that following them will yield a "Page Not Found" error message from Switchboard.com.
A "working" map link has an appropriate icon visible in the page, or looks like "Google".

More Quick Tips

If you came here from a site data page where the map links are immediately after the "*Location" section, here is the quick comparison of what they do:
Google Maps produces the most easily usable maps, and offers an option to produce driving directions to or from the located point, but it works on only a limited number of Web browsers.  If you can use it, you should.  Both specific help for Google Maps and general help is available below.
MapQuest (for North American and some European pages) is usable on some Web browsers that don't support Google Maps, but it's less flexible, shows a much smaller map that's surrounded by advertising material, and cannot effectively be used to show us an improved location for the mapped site.  The driving directions that MapQuest offers in other contexts are not available for locations which are specified by latitude/longitude, as we do.  Both specific help for MapQuest and general help is available below.
Gazetteer (identified as a "city maps and gazetteer page") works for all browsers.  However, it only shows the location of the city or town in which the site is located, not the precise location of the site itself.  So it's only useful for general information purposes.  (But at that it's better than nothing!)  We use it only outside North America; so far, no one has asked for it to be used within North America.
Something else - in certain parts of the world outside North America (see above), other mapping services are also used.  You'll have to decide for yourself what advantages or disadvantages they have for you.  Specific help is (or will be) available, and general help is now available, both below.
If you came here from a USA site data page with two or three BROKEN map links, here is the quick comparison of what they used to do:
Map 1 (from MapsOnUs) downloads quickly and is dynamically adjustable, but it has minimal labelling and doesn't offer driving directions.  Both specific help for MapsOnUs and general help are available below.
Map 2 (from MapsOnUs) downloads quickest and has the best labelling, but it can't be adjusted and so it may not show all nearby sites.  It offers the option of getting driving directions from your point of origin to any of the sites shown on the map, and possibly also to other nearby places which don't appear on the map but are listed below it.  (That's on the map page, not on our page.)  Both specific help for MapsOnUs and general help are available below.
Map 3 (from MapBlast!) used to show you our confidence level with respect to icon placement and was dynamically adjustable, but was the slowest to load.  If that link to MapBlast! is still present, it doesn't work any more.  (See note in Map Service History dated 2002/03/07.)
If you came here from a USA or Canada site data page with only one map link, and it doesn't work, that's probably because I haven't yet supplied an alternative for the MapBlast problem (see Map Service History).  Please use the Back button on your Web browser to return to that page, then check the date "built from the database" at the bottom of it.  If that date is more recent than 7-Mar-02, then use the "comments or questions" link on the bottom line of that page to report this problem so that it can be fixed.  (Using the link on that page rather than on some other one will automatically put an appropriate subject line on your email message if your Web browser and email program cooperate properly.)
If you came here from a Canada site data page with only one map link, and it doesn't work, that's probably because of the MapBlast problem (see Map Service History).  It should receive a MapQuest locator map link soon. (Specific help for MapQuest locators is available below.)

If the map link does work, then general help is available below, along with specific help if it is a MapQuest link.  (Yahoo! Maps were experimental, and no specific help is available for them here.)


If you came here from a site data page for Mexico or a country in Central or South America with just one map link in the "*Links" section, that doesn't work because of the MapBlast problem (see Map Service History).  It hasn't yet been fixed because the location is known only to city-level accuracy.  It will be eventually be replaced with links for Google Maps and Global Gazetteer as described above.
If you came here from a site data page for a country outside the Americas, the MapBlast problem is irrelevant, because MapBlast was already defunct by the time that page was created.  Whatever map link is in place should be functional; general help is available below, along with specific help for Google Maps and Global Gazetteer links.

Map usage hints

Mapping services are (or have been) provided free to the World Wide Web by several firms.  For each one which we use, we present a separate Usage Hints page to supplement whatever help might be supplied by the map provider, especially with respect to the way we utilize that service.  Usage hints which are common to all services remain on this page (below).


Usage Hints for Google Maps (worldwide)

For maps obtained from a link like this: "Google", first see the panel which is to the right of the map.  If that doesn't answer your question, then see our Map Use Hints for Google Maps.

Google Maps don't work on all browsers on all platforms.  To check whether they work on yours, go to Google Maps.  If you see the statement "Your web browser is not fully supported by Google Local" in the middle of the page, then Google Maps probably won't work for you; follow the "More information" link to find out which browsers are supported on your platform.

If Google Maps do not work on your Web browser, Get Firefox! we strongly recommend that you acquire Firefox.  It is a free, standards-based, cross-platform browser that is fast, secure and reliable.  Click the Firefox icon at right to see a download page for the version that is appropriate to your computer and operating system.  Try it out!

Because Google Maps download a large amount of data, they are not very suitable for use with dial-up connections to the Internet unless you have a great deal of patience or are willing to work with a fairly small window.  (That reduces the amount of download needed at each zoom level.)  Experiment with resizing your browser window to find your own preferred balance between size of map and speed of download.


Usage Hints for MapQuest (worldwide)

For maps obtained from this icon: [ MapQuest icon ]   or this one:   [ MapQuest map ]
see our Map Use Hints for MapQuest.


Usage Hints for Bing Maps (worldwide)

For map pages obtained from a plain text link with the words "Bing Maps", see our Map Use Hints for Bing Maps.


Usage Hints for Global Gazetteer (worldwide)

For map pages obtained from a plain text link which includes the word "gazetteer", see our Map Use Hints for Global Gazetteer.


Usage Hints for StreetMapUK (England, Scotland, Wales)

Map links based on this mapping service should always open in a new window or tab.  This has been done because StreetMap does a series of internal redirections which effectively makes the Back button of your Web browser useless.  It's easier for you to close a new window (or tab) than to work around that difficulty.
(The rest of these hints have not yet been written.)


Usage Hints for Kraks Kort (for churches in Denmark)

(These hints have not yet been written.)


Usage Hints for MultiMap (England, Scotland, Wales)

(These hints were never written, and now they never will be.)


Usage Hints for MapsOnUs (USA only)

For maps obtained from this icon:   [icon is lost] or this icon:   [icon is lost]
see our Map Use Hints for MapsOnUs.
NOTE: While those hints are obsolete (because of the demise of MapsOnUs - see Map Service History), they have been left here so that you can see what facilities that service once offered.


Usage Hints for MapBlast (the Americas only)

For maps obtained from this icon:   [icon is lost]
see our Map Use Hints for MapBlast.
NOTE: While those hints are obsolete (because of the demise of MapBlast - see Map Service History), they have been left here so that you can see what facilities that service once offered.


Usage Hints for all site locator map services

(but does not apply to the Global Gazetteer service)

Need help? Want advice? Pick a question . . .

Just curious? Read all the answers in order . . .

Why are these usage hints important?

The online help which is provided directly by the various online mapping services is aimed at the general user and explains all (or most) aspects of each service.  This page which you are now reading explains common aspects of how we use those services.  The corresponding pages for the specific services (see links above) also emphasize what dynamic map controls are especially useful in each context, and warn about what you should not do while viewing a locator map which we have customized.  In a few instances, those pages expand on the service's own online help.

The location marker (icon) on the map is in the wrong place; how can I help fix it for future visitors?

If you really do know more than we do about where the marker should be, please help:

I tinkered with the map controls too much, and now I'm lost. How do I get back to the original version?

If you are on a Google Map, use the "Reload" feature of your Web browser.  (This may be a menu selection or a toolbar button.) 

Otherwise, use the "Back" feature of your Web browser to back up one or more screens at a time.  (This may be a menu selection or a toolbar button.)  Or use its "History" feature to jump directly back to the site data page or the initial map.  The second alternative is quicker, but then you might be unable to use "Back" to work your way further up your history tree, depending on how your browser handles its history function.

Why aren't the multiple maps on area locator pages combined into one?

This question and answer became partially obsolete after the demise of MapBlast (see Map Service History) made the area locator pages then in existence useless.  It became totally obsolete after the demise of MapsOnUs; what remained here was applicable to how we used MapsOnUs as an area locator.  But read on...

If you use any map vendor's online mapping services through some other Website, you might find that they do indeed have the capability to place many icons on one map.  However, that placement is done by them for a fee, dynamically, using a database supplied or maintained by the customer.

For understandable commercial reasons, the vendors do not support such complex functions in their free services.  MapsOnUs did allow placement of a limited number of icons on one map, and we utilized that capability to make each site locator map in the USA serve as an area locator when there were other towers close to the one being located.

The Guild, being a small non-profit organization, could not afford to purchase a full-scale commercial service.  Obsolete (MapBlast!): Therefore, in the relatively few areas where a concentration of sites makes an area locator page advisable, we have adopted the multi-map expedient.  When there are more than four or five sites in an area, such as a metropolis, they are subdivided by type (carillons, chimes, rings) into compatible groups of sites. Each group is then displayed on one of a set of identical maps, to make it possible to relate them to each other easily.  (By the time all of the North American chime pages are installed, even this expedient will not suffice in a few areas.)

If this does not satisfy your needs, we would be happy to accept a large enough donation to the Guild to enable us to use one of the commercial services.  We could certainly put it to good use.

POSTSCRIPT:  With the publishing of the Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface), it became possible to consider a different type of area locator map.  This is in development; watch for a future announcement.


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This page was created 1997/02/07 and last revised 2012/07/24. Valid HTML 2.0!

Please send comments or questions to csz_stl@swbell.net