What the heck is it? This article will explain the basics of the product. This is not a technical document or manual. The goal here is to explain the concept of how the component works and the Geocode Factory paradigm.

Introduction

Geocode Factory is a mapping component for Joomla! that works by using existing data from other extensions to create the marker data on a map. Some of the extensions it works with:

  • CB (Community Builder)
  • JS (Jomsocial)
  • Sobi2/Sobipro
  • Mosets tree

There are also others....plus more being added over time!

Paradigm

The main purpose of the component is to display profiles and/or other entries on a map. The basic paradigm for Geocode Factory is that your displayed “maps” contain both the map itself as well as what is called a “Markerset”. 

This map can be uniquely configured for size, style, controls, etc and can be re-used within your site as many times as you want. Geocode Factory can create an unlimited number of maps with many customizable settings. Each map can have its own parameters including, but not limited to:

  • Map type
  • Zoom parameters
  • Templating (with different pre-configured controls)
  • Radius settings
  • Clustering

The markerset is simply the method of defining the data that is displayed on that map. You must configure the markers using these markersets when using Geocode Factory. Each map can receive as many markersets as desired. A partial list of applications for markersets is here :

  • Filters on profiles (based on fields)
  • Bubble template (needed fields, tabs, street views, avatars, ...)
  • Marker icon (defined icon you have uploaded or you can even use the user’s avatar from a Joomla! community like Jomsocial if it is in use)
  • Radius settings - defining how far from a defined point is mapped

Examples of Usage

In a few simple steps, you can geocode your website’s user profiles and create maps with markers from different extensions. Each marker can display it's own bubble. Here are some examples of how this can be used.

  • Options to map the user locations in your Jomsocial community
  • Mapping entries from Sobipro or Mosets Tree

In the following example, we use a profile management component (eg CB or JS), and a directory component to manage point of interest (eg SobiPro or Mosets tree). 

You have an established website and have many user profiles. These member’s profiles contain the postal address (city/country/street), but unfortunately not geographic information (latitude and longitude coordinates). In addition, members have created entries (POI) in a directory component. You can create fields for geographical coordinates for all your members. Since the user profiles already contain the user’s postal address, Geocode Factory can batch the coordinates in one simple click!

At this point, all of the profiles have coordinates. This does not need to be done for each new member, or if a users changes his/her address. It can be done automatically in various ways depending on which 3rd party extensions you are using.

  • Products such as Jomsocial (since version 2.0) automatically geocode profiles.
  • Products such as Community Builder or Jomsocial (before version 2.0) need a plugin to geocode profiles. You can find these two plugins in the Geocode Factory zip package.
  • Products such as Sobi2 or SobiPro have an optional, native geocode field and can automatically geocode new entries depending on configuration.

In our example, if the profile contains information on gender as field, it would be very easy to create two markersets differentiating women and men. With a filter "field_gender = female" and "field_gender = male" and a different marker icon for each (eg pink for women, blue for men), both can be displayed on the same map with different icons for men and women.

Creating a markerset (POI's) is also possible from other components such as Sobi2, Mosets Tree, Jomsocial events, etc., and link them to the same (or other) card profiles. These POI's can be linked in many ways including from different markersets, between profiles and their POIs.

"Creating rich and interactive maps, is very easy."

FAQ

Q: I only have the city saved as address, it's possible to geocode, or do I need in all of the data like city, street?
A: Geocode Factory is capable of geocoding from any data (for example, only the zip code), but the more data that is available, the more accurate the geocode will be.

Q: I only use the Joomla internal user management (com_user). Can I use the Geocode Factory to show my members on a map? 
A: No, a profile component is needed (Jomsocial, CommunityBuilder etc). The Joomla user component does not store any addresses and cannot show the coordinates.

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