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(Archived) mapping and other questions re location lists

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Hi. New user - like it so far. Hope someone can help me with this - what I would like to do is create a list of restaurants I like, and then on my mobile device display them in google maps (rather than just the list), so I can be walking around and see which are in my vicinity. Is this possible?

On a related point - can evernote incorporate info from other (online) sources? To stick with this same example, what I would like is when I find a restaurant I like, an easy way to incorporate its name, address and phone number (ie like shows up in the zagat app) into the list.

Is it possible to dial phone numbers in a note directly by clicking on them? (I use an iPhone). Again, compare zagat.

(The zagat app has an option to save restaurants in favorites, but apparently they can't be viewed on a map or otherwise sorted.)


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what I would like to do is create a list of restaurants I like, and then on my mobile device display them in google maps (rather than just the list), so I can be walking around and see which are in my vicinity. Is this possible?

This is definitely possible on the iPhone, which uses google maps as its default mapping app. (I can't comment about other mobile clients, though I assume some similar functionality exists). Notes created on the iPhone are automatically geotagged, and from the notes list there is a button that allows you to display the notes on the map. They show up as colored ovals with numbers indicating how many notes each corresponds to (which depends on how far the map is zoomed in or zoomed out). The Evernote map view includes a button that allows you to center the map on your current position, so it's easy to pull up a map showing those restaurants that are geographically near to where you are. If you use Evernote for anything other than restaurants, you should probably create a notebook for restaurants, and then use the advanced search capability to look just at that notebook, since that way the map will only show those restaurants that are nearby, and won't show other geotagged notes.

This works reasonably well and it's quite easy if you create each note at the restaurant corresponding to that note, since each note will then automatically be geotagged with the location of the restaurant.

There are, however, a couple of problems, relating to problems with Evernote and/or the iPhone. I've developed work-arounds for those, though whether or not they're worthwhile will depend on how obsessive you are about this.

First, the iPhone interface is generally not very good in terms of adding information to notes. I like to include the following in my restaurant notes: when I was there, with whom, what I ordered, and comments on the food, service, etc. I also like to put in a link to the restaurant's website and/or a review site, plus a picture of the restaurant, which may help me remember the place if I haven't been there for a while. Having this kind of information immediately available when you're in a particular location trying to figure out where to eat is quite useful.

It is difficult and in some cases impossible to enter this type of information directly into a note on the iPhone. So I either create or edit the restaurant notes on my Mac, at most starting with a note consisting of a picture or some basic information entered from the iPhone.

The second issue relates to the geotagging information associated with a particular note. If a note is created anywhere other than at the restaurant (e.g., on your computer at home), it won't have correct location information for the restaurant. In addition, even for notes created at the restaurant, the geotagging is often off, sometimes by a block or more. I believe this results from a combination of imperfect GPS on the iPhone (at least in some places), plus the way Evernote stores the IPhone GPS information (generally involving truncation of the actual GPS information).

In either case, the geographic information is often inaccurate or completely unusable. Unfortunately, Evernote doesn't provide any particularly easy way to add or edit location information. Instead, the only way I know of to do it is as follows (these steps work on a Mac; I assume they would also work on a Windows-based PC but cannot be certain): (1) pull google maps up on the computer browser, and enter the address of the restaurant; (2) press the google maps link button (upper right of the window); (3) click "customize and preview embedded map"; (4) scroll down to box 3 of the custom map popup window, titled "copy and paste this HTML to embed in your web site"; (5) find the longitude and latitude, which will be preceded by "ll=", e.g.: ll=36.224942,-121.759142; (6) copy the first number into the Evernote latitude box, which can be accessed by clicking on "click to set location," if no location has been set, or the pencil button next to the location if a location has been set; (7) copy the second number (including the minus, but without the comma) into the Evernote longitude box.

That should get you an accurate location on the Mac Evernote client, and it should show up fairly accurately on the iPhone. (As stated above, I assume this would work on Windows PCs plus the iPhone but have no idea about other mobile devices). This is, of course, a ridiculous number of steps to get accurate geotagging information, but it's the only way I can figure out to get the correct google maps longitude and latitude corresponding to an address. The process would be much, much easier if Evernote would allow location information to be entered using an address, but for now they don't. Conversely, you can live with the sometimes inaccurate GPS information from the iPhone, but that only works if you create the original note at the restaurant itself.

Now for the third issue: because of a bug in the Evernote iPhone client, some geographic locations don't display on the map. So you have to actually look at the map on the iPhone to see if your new note even shows up. If it doesn't, you have to edit the latitude and longitude information. Usually it's enough to either add a digit to the end (e.g., add a "1") or increment or decrement the least significant digit of one or the other. Neither of these changes the location in any material way, but these changes often cause the note to suddenly appear on the iPhone map. Why, I don't know; as I say it's a bug. Which I've reported, and it hasn't been fixed, but that's another story.

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