Jekyll-Mapping and Octopress

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to add some sort of maps support to octopress/jekyll, and I finally recently had some time to look into it a little bit more. It seems some others out there have had the same idea, because I stumbled across two plugins that did something close (but not exactly) to what I wanted: octolayer and jekyll-mapping.

The reason I’m interested in this is that when I travel, I like to log gpx tracks of the places we go, and geotag my photos, etc. It’s nice to be able to display a map of where I went each day, and I can always go back and find exactly where that awesome restaurant was (in case I go back, or to tell friends).

I wasn’t really sure how/if jekyll plugins would map to octopress (since octopress does use jekyll, but its plugin structure still seems to be slightly different), so I started off looking into octolayer.


Octolayer was only setup to use openlayers, and it could only do specific long/lat co-ordinates. I really wanted to be able to use google maps, but I figured i’d give this a try and see how things went.

I liked the way that octolayer was set up, and the ease of installing it, but the openlayers API looked really messy to me, and I didn’t feel like spending a bunch of time learning it when I really wanted google maps anyway, so I opened up an issue with matthewowen to see what his thoughts were about adding the functionality I wanted to jekyll-mapping.


Matthew responded pretty quickly, and showed me that he really already had basic support for what I wanted. Fantastic. All you had to do was put this in your config section of your posts:

        - http://path/to/kml_file.kml
        - http://path/to/gpx_file.gpx

Then put this in your post body wherever you want the map to render:

{% raw %}{% render_map %}{% endraw %}

That’s it! It seemed to work pretty well at first, but then I quickly realized that the way the code was set up, it would only work on the post page, and would not be able to display multiple maps on a page that lists several posts (or even one post with multiple maps). The javascript used an id to find the jekyll-mapping element, and it was tightly bound to a single-post page.

I decided to head into #octopress and ask around (I’ve never mucked with octopress source or plugins before), and got some really useful tips and help from Brandon Mathis, Octopress’ creator.

After a bit of tinkering, I ended up with this changeset that gave me pretty much everything I wanted (for now):

With this, I can put multiple layers on a map (I usually put a .gpx layer for the day, as well as a layer from flickr with my geotagged photoset for that day in each relevant post), and display multiple posts, each with a map, per page.