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The Power of the Pin


I’m delighted to see users all over the web using the new custom Pushpins in WLL. It’s one of those unique features whose time was long overdue in Web mapping. We have even more planned for the Scratchpad and custom pushpins in the next release, but I’ll save those details for another time. In this post i want to help you get even more out of custom pushpins, providing some tips on how to press them into service to accomplish stuff like correcting your home address for driving directions or creating a map highlighting your favorite fishing holes.
Adding a pushpin is easy – you just point your mouse where you want it, right click and select ‚Add pushpin‘. After you give your pin a title, it will appear on the map and it is also added to your scratchpad so that you can email it to others. A lot of the maps I have seen have one lonely pin, which is fine if thats all you need. but go ahead and add a second. and a third. keeping in mind that you can mail all of the pins on your scratchpad in one permalink, you can begin to see a lot of powerful applications open up.
For instance, I ride in a vanpool to commute to work. Each time we would get a request from a potential new rider asking about pickup and dropoff locations, a long and painful thread would unravel as we tried to figure out the best spot to meet the new rider. With Custom pushpins in VE, I was able to easily create a bookmark of stops, and now I just mail a link like this whenever we get such a request. (see the first screenshot below)
Correcting errant Geocodes is another powerful use of a custom pushpin. Often algorithmic geocoding will place an address at the wrong end of the block, or even further away. If you were doing something where precision really matters, like emailing someone a route to your house or organizing a meeting at a specific point in a large park these differences can really matter. In WLL, it’s easy to add a custom pushpin at the correct location. then use this corrected location in your driving directions and remove the errant location from your scratchpad. In this Permalink, and the associated screenshot below, you can see how I added a precise pushpin in birds eye mode for my actual home location.

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