Friday, July 15, 2005

Essential Google Maps Tool for Firefox: Greasemap

If you're a Firefox user, and find Google Maps or Google Local useful for locating addresses on a map, here is a great script for the Greasemonkey Firefox extension called Greasemap. Here is the description from the website:

It augments any web page you visit by searching the page for geocodeable addresses or other geotags. If it finds any, it automatically shows all such locations on a Google Map which is injected into the page you are viewing, within an iframe from

I'm absolutely floored with the simplicity of this and how well it works. I wanted to test it out before posting about it, and this process took all of one minute. This involved installing Greasemonkey, then the Greasemap script (with a quick restart of Firefox). Once Greasemap is setup, all you have to do is visit a page that contains enough address information for it to be plotted onto the map (see below for the patterns it recognizes). This triggers Greasemap and a Google map is automatically displayed in the top portion of your browser window with the addresses plotted. I ran a quick search for store locations from the CompUSA website and it automatically started plotting the store locations on a map directly in the browser I had open. *VERY* cool.

Here is an example from the Greasemap site:

Before GreaseMap

With GreaseMap

Here are the currently supported patterns that a page has to contain for it all to plot locations using Greasemap:

Currently supported patterns

* 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 (zip code is optional)
* < name="geo.position" content="41.328,-110.292"> (as on sites linked from
* < name="ICBM" content="41.328,-110.292">
* N 42 25.159 W 071 29.492 (as on
* geo:lat=... (as on

(geo.position and ICBM may also use semicolons to separate the lat + long)

The geocoding is based on Tiger streets data, using the Perl module Geo::Coder::US. It will not work for addresses outside the U.S.

I see this as an essential Google Maps tool to turn sites with addresses directly into a Google Maps mashup! Just follow the instructions on the Greasemap site to install Greasemonkey on Firefox, then the Greasemonkey script. You'll no longer have to wait for someone to create a Google Map plotted with addresses from a site you're visiting!

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