Content Marketing, Mobile and Tablet Marketing

A Sneak Peak at Wild Birds Unlimited

With 60 hour weeks at work the last few weeks, it’s been a challenge to add another 20 or 30 on the mapping project I’m doing for Wild Birds Unlimited. Tomorrow’s a big day, though, when WBU shows the functionality off to some of its franchisees.

Wild Birds Unlimited Preview

We’ve really squeezed a lot of functionality into this site, and we hope to do much more. There’s a robust Administrative back-end where stores can even update their own information or tweak their geographic location. Some other features:

  1. GeoIP localization that determines whether or not to display in metric or standard. The GeoIP predicts your location and region and plots you on the map based on the IP address requesting the page.
  2. The custom markers were my design and are loaded, not dynamically with JavaScript, but with a KML file! This provides quicker page loads with the markers loading after. As you move on the map, Google takes care of displaying the points so I don’t have to requery the database.
  3. The information windows are a combination. If you click on the map, they are from the KML file. If you click on the locations in the sidebar, they load in a layer relative to the map.
  4. Directions are also included, if you provide more of an address than simply a state or province. This is the first time I’ve deployed the Google Directions, but it’s pretty awesome. One thing to note… I don’t actually pass the addresses to geocode, I simply add the actual latitude and longitude and mask them with a name ([email protected],-120).

Images are already enabled on the info windows, but we don’t actually have any images saved at this point. 🙂 One step at a time. If you’d like to take a look, you can visit Wild Birds Unlimited Maps. I’d state that the software is Alpha ready to go Beta once we receive refinement requests from the client.

Special thanks to Stephen, he’s been my intern on this and has done a heck of a job. He’s moved to Germany for the school year but I look forward to continuing deploying code with him on this project. WBU is a fantastic organization and have been a joy to work with. We’re looking forward to over-delivering on this project as we hope to deploy this application for other organizations seeking a PHP Mapping application. Stephen will be my business partner… not bad for a guy still in high school!

Some additional resource have been Mike’s code examples as well as Ben, a developer with Rarebird who built a stunning implementation of Google Maps at Fanimation.

3 Comments

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    Hi there Doug – congratulations to you and the other developers on completing this project – I’m sure the WBU store owners will appreciate this. More and more of their customers (and potential store owners interested in purchasing a franchise) find Wild Birds Unlimited via the Web, making it vital that their initial experience with the company be a positive one. The new mapping implementation sure is an improvement over the prior static maps. Hope this creates new business for you – great job again.

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    I can’t tell you how impressed the Wild Birds Unlimited franchisees were who got a sneak peak of this today! It wasn’t officially on our agenda but I asked for a few minutes at the beginning of the day to show it off. They immediately recognized the dramatic improvements over our current store locator. They were especially happy with the driving directions functionality.

    Doug, you have been a joy to work with as well. Anyone out there looking for a talented, dedicated and customer-oriented developer can’t go wrong with you! Thanks for all the hard work and thanks to your team. You guys are making me look good.

    Bo Lowery,
    Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc.

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