Answering my own questions since 2001

Canucks Pay Per View Bars and Restaurants in Google Maps

Two and half years ago, I described a local search problem:

Yesterday, while considering going to a local public house to watch some of the Canucks vs. Minnesota pay-per-view game, I consulted this list of pubs showing the game. It’s just two big, unsortable tables covering all of BC. Unless you’re only looking to confirm that a particular pub is showing the game, it’s nearly useless.

I wondered aloud (as I was by myself), “wouldn’t it be cool if somebody could feed all this data into Google Maps, and I could use that to determine which pubs were closest.”

With some help, I almost got the thing up and running. Then I ran into some roadblocks, got busy and forgot about it.

I still have the same problem. Tonight I’m giving a talk, and wanted to be able to slip out afterwards to catch the second half of the Flames/Canucks game. I figured I’d have another crack at the problem. This time I’ve been successful–witness my l33t mashup skillz!

Er, you can check out the completed map.

Here’s how I did it (it’s not exactly rocket science):

  1. I went to the Canucks website and copied all the details–name, address and city–of the pay per view venues. I dumped that data into an Excel spreadsheet.
  2. I needed to associate latitude and longitude values with each address. I used this handy free tool to ‘geocode’ each venue. I added the location data to my spreadsheet.
  3. I imported my spreadsheet into Google Docs. You can see it here.
  4. I ran this wizard from Google (thank you, Webware) to turn my hosted spreadsheet into a location-rich Google map.
  5. The wizard generates some code, which I subsequently hosted on a dedicated page on my site.

Somebody has probably already done this in the meantime, but I wanted to see if I could do it myself. It was encouragingly straightforward, and only took me about an hour from start to finish. It’s not perfect–the Grizzly Bar is floating in the Atlantic south of Nigeria–but it’s a reasonable solution to my problem. Steamworks on Water Street seems like the right fit for tonight.

9 Responses to “Canucks Pay Per View Bars and Restaurants in Google Maps”

  1. Anne

    Not being a hockey, Canucks or otherwise fan, I am impressed by your persistence to get results. The description of your process is very detailed and logical, even to an older, non-geek person.

  2. darren

    Anne: Thanks very much. I used to write software manuals, so something must have stuck.

  3. Jordan

    Dude, where do you find the TIME?

    I bet the Canucks’ “Ultimate Fan” contest folks would love to know about this project.

  4. Beth

    An alternative would be to go on Twitter and say “Hey, I’m at Broadway & Pine. Anyone know where I can watch the Cancuks PPV near here?” And then 50 people would tell you.

    Your way, granted, is much cooler.

  5. Michael Kwan

    Nice work Darren, but I can’t help but notice that Grizzly Bar is located off the coast of Nigeria.

  6. Brian El

    Well done Darren. You made it look easy.

  7. paula

    Hi – found your site through your Humble Pie post (I also had a Humble Pie experience – on the receiving end – super yummy!)

    Great map! Unfortunately Google has its location issues, so the Treehouse Pub is showing up in the middle of Port Moody when it really belongs 20 minutes south of there. This is probably a Google issue, similar to what led me to receive my Humble Pie to begin with (bad Google-interfaced maps on the Credit Union website).

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