Saturday, 2 August 2008

A map to help your quiz efforts

I can tell that some of you might be struggling with the answers to my earlier quiz, so I'm going to give you a little bit of help. I've quickly put together a web page that shows, on a map, where all the bridge clubs and teachers are.

It takes a little while to load up all the data and it really is best if you have a broadband connection.

The map is fully dynamic — if you've used Google Maps before then you'll be familiar with the functionality. You can use the navigation controls in the top left to move around and zoom in. You can also click and drag the map to move it or double-click to zoom in.

There are four different types of markers on the map (currently). Only the county markers are visible at the default zoom level but if you zoom in three times or more these will disappear and the others will be shown. The different markers are as follows:

County marker. On the map this will also have the three-letter county code shown. Hover your mouse over the marker if you're unsure which county it is. Clicking on a county marker opens up a window where you can go to the county's website or list that county's affiliated clubs.

Precise club marker. Red markers show (we hope) the exact position of a club venue. Click the marker to open up a tabbed window with all sorts of information on the club, including contact details, playing sessions and what facilities the club offers. Hover your mouse over any icon which you can't decipher and it will give a brief description.

Imprecise club marker. Pink markers correspond to the approximate position of a club venue. We hope they're in more or less the right place (i.e. within a few streets), but we can't promise anything. If you're involved in a club and want to turn your pink marker red, click the checkbox below the map and then click on the exact position of your club building (switching to satellite view might help). It will pop up with a window showing the latitude and longitude of the point you clicked which you can send to me in an email.

Note: club markers refer to the venue of the clubs. This isn't necessarily the postal address. If a club has more than one venue then they will get more than one marker on the map and searches for the club will show multiple results. Also, all the clubs shown have given us permission for their details to appear on the website. If you want your club shown and you're affiliated to the EBU, let us know and we'll get it added.

Teacher marker. Click the marker to see further information about the teacher. It's important to note that the location of the marker is only the general area of the teacher and doesn't in any way give an indication of where that teacher lives. If any teacher wants to move their marker then follow the procedure described above for moving club markers.

Note: only EBUTA teachers with a Full or Professional status are eligible to appear on the map.

The Search Box

Instead of panning and zooming the map to find the information you're looking for, you can instead use the search box in the top right. This works in two ways. First of all, you can type in your postcode or home town and then press the search icon (a pair of binoculars that appears just under the box) or press return. This will then attempt to find the location you've entered and will move the map to that place. For instance, try entering the following queries and pressing enter:

'hp19 8az'
'10 downing street, london'

The map can show the whole world so if it doesn't recognise a UK place name, note that it will search further afield, possibly with ridiculous results. County names aren't recognised directly, so entering 'yorkshire' will put you in Ohio!

The second use for the search box is to quickly find a club that you already know the name of. For instance, if you want to find the Young Chelsea Bridge Club but you're not entirely sure where it is, just type 'young chelsea' into the search box. This will bring up a link which you can click and go directly to the club's details. You can also search for teacher names in this way, and even the club contact's name.

If there are more than 12 items found in the search then use the green arrows to move forward and backward through the list.

For the computer experts out there, I should point out that the search box uses regular expressions to match the search terms. So you can search for '[0-9]' to bring up a list of all items with a number in them.

To bring up a list of clubs within a county, you can do a special search. Type 'county:' followed by the name of the county (the first few letters should do) and it will list them all for you. You can also do this search by clicking on a county marker and clicking the 'list clubs' icon on the popup.

I hope you find the map useful for answering the quiz questions. You can all get down to trying to win that prize now. If you have any comments on the map or see some problems then feel free to email in or leave a comment below.

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