Project: Wild Birds Unlimited – Fun With Google Maps

The kind folks over at Wild Birds Unlimited have requested my help in converting their store mappings over to Google. If you’re wondering why I’ve been fairly quiet of recent, it’s not because I’m blogged out – it’s because I’m really plugging away at knocking this project out of the park!

As well, I’m starting a new full-time job in a week and want to make sure we’re able to deliver well before our deadline! Because of that, I’ve enlisted some help… Stephen has been doing a fantastic job and another friend of mine, Todd, will be helping us to optimize and clean up any code before delivery.

In short, the application is built in PHP, MySQL, and Ajax and is a means for Wild Birds’ visitors to search for locations close to them. Data is cached in KML files to optimize performance and take advantage of the latest and greatest features of the Google Map API. There’s some additional complexity as well since the data are maintained in more than one location but it’s one heck of a fun challenge.

Here’s a preview of the (fully functional!) Administrative section where Administrators can login and update the locations of their stores on the map:
Wild Birds Unlimited Administration

There’s still a bit of work to do, but the progress has been fantastic thus far. We need to load a GeoIP database to predict the visitors’ location, as well as provide directions to any location from the visitor’s address. Fun stuff! Be patient, in a couple of weeks we’ll be back to normal.


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    Nice, Doug! We’ve just implemented something similar for Fanimation that will be launching this week. Very similar functionally, except we are allowing file upload of the dealers and have added Canada as well. Cool stuff!

    Oh, and congrats on the new job. Looking forward to hearing more about it! /Jim

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    Looks like the project is coming along nicely, Doug. I’m sure you enjoy the creative aspects of tackling a project like this one.

    Providing suggestions that will improve your client’s overall business goals looks to be a very strong point of yours – good work!

    – Marty

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