Improvements to Map Block

It looks like some people are enjoying the map block, but it isn’t very helpful for us for these reasons:

  1. It simply gives a map with dropped pins of all the addresses that you are currently looking at in your current view. We don’t want to see all of our addresses simultaneously on a map at the same time — we just want to see the map location of the current record that we are currently interacting with.

  2. But — if you want to see the map location for just a single record in your view, you have to filter your entire list for just that one record.

  3. The map block also requires you to switch the block to full screen mode to see the map, which is not ideal. It would be great if it was viewable off to the side.

  4. Even if you just have a single pin on your map (i.e. you filtered your entire list down to just one record), the map block doesn’t zoom you into the pin.

What our users want is just the most simple & common map request:

  • Click on a record, and then have a map open up to the side with the location of that record’s address. (And zoomed into that address, too.)

I think the underlying fundamental problem here is that the Airtable platform doesn’t really understand the concept of “clicking on a record and then having that record trigger some action based on that record”.

So, since the Maps Block doesn’t really do what need it to do, we’ll just need to open the official Google Maps website in another tab in our web browser. So our solution is that we’re going to figure out how Google Maps URL’s are constructed for addresses, and then we will construct that URL as a formula field in Airtable. Then, users will be able to just click on that constructed URL for each record to take them to Google Maps in another web browser tab.

If somebody knows an easier method of doing this instead of creating a formula field that results in a Google Maps URL, please let me know! :slight_smile:

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Using the new Button field type, it’s easier now to implement a simple one-click method to open up a map based on the record you are viewing. If you don’t want to use the Google Maps API and Map Block, try using Apple Maps to launch and open a map using either the street address or lat/long coordinates.

Here’s a reference link the Apple Maps Developer documentation that you can use to create various formula fields that will open to a map: Map Links for Apple Maps

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Great reference, thanks!

Another GIS/mapping resource that I’d recommend developers explore more carefully would be GIS Cloud. Here’s a link to their API and developer programming resources: GIS Cloud Developer Center GIS Cloud is just a great mapping platform with a ton of potential for further Airtable integration! Their JavaScript API in particular may prove useful with the new Scripting Block.

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