Usage Hints for site and area locator maps

This page was originally written when MapBlast provided all of our locator map services.  That included both site locator maps, linked from site data pages, and area locator maps, embedded in separate area locator pages.  Since MapBlast withdrew the service which provided dynamic site locator maps, we are now using the MapsOnUs service for those maps in the USA.  Unfortunately MapsOnUs does not provide service for locations outside of the USA.

Usage Hints for the MapsOnUs service

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

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

What's "MapsOnUs" ?

MapsOnUs is an online dynamic mapping service which is provided at no cost by

Why are these usage hints important?

The excellent online help which is provided by the MapsOnUs service is aimed at the general user and explains all aspects of that service.  This page which you are now reading explains how we use that service.  It also emphasizes what controls are especially useful in this context, and warns about what you should not do while viewing a locator map which we have customized.  In a few instances, it expands on the MapsOnUs help.

What is all the stuff around the map?

Assuming that all of the MapsOnUs parts are neatly laid out on your screen (if they aren't, see the next answer), here is what you will see:

Why is all that stuff scattered helter-skelter across my screen, and not arranged neatly around the map?

Probably you are using an old Web browser (e.g., Spry Mosaic 2.0) which doesn't support more recent additions to the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that is used to build Web pages.  Without "tables" capability, the map will still be readable, but the MapsOnUs controls will fall into such strange places that it may not be obvious how to use them.  (But they do still work.)  If you get a newer Web browser with "tables" capability (e.g., Netscape Navigator 3.0 or newer), then all of the MapsOnUs controls associated with the map will be laid out nicely around it.

Generally we avoid using tables, frames or other newer features of HTML in order to present site data in the most readable possible form to the widest possible audience.  MapsOnUs is an exception to this principle because it is so useful and because it doesn't reside on our Website.

Why are there street addresses in the bottom margin of some site maps but not others?

We only show street addresses (or street intersections) on a site map when MapsOnUs was able to use that information to place the locator icon and we kept the icon at the center of the map.  If either of those conditions is not met, then the bottom margin of the map will show the longitude and latitude of the center point of the map.

How can I get a different view of the site surroundings?

MapsOnUs has some options to customize the map to meet your particular needs without losing the benefits of our customization.

What other map controls are available?

MapsOnUs has additional options to customize the map, but at the risk of losing the information we have provided in the initial display.

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?

Use the "Back" feature of your Web browser to back up one screen at a time.  (This may be a menu selection or a toolbar button.)  Or use its "History" feature to jump directly 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 isn't the map embedded directly in the site data page?

Unlike the former MapBlast service, MapsOnUs does not offer such an option.  We could fake it by doing a screen capture and embedding that image in the page, but that would probably be in violation of copyright.

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