Maps are back!

Note: Click on any photo to get a larger version.

You may have noticed that the maps that used to be on this site stopped working for a while, and have just started working again. Here’s what happened, if you’re interested…

Google used to offer everyone free use of its maps to embed in their site, so about 8 years ago I wrote a WordPress plugin that would let Zach and me attach location information to our blog posts and show it as route lines and point markers maps, plus make elevation graphs, and we launched this blog. At some point, Google revamped their access methods (the “API” in programming jargon), and I had to rewrite a bunch of my plugin, but that was OK. Then they made it so you needed an “API key” in order to embed maps, but I added that to the plugin and that was OK. Then finally, sometime in the last two years, they announced they would start charging for map embedding — they made it free up to a certain number of map views per month, but you had to set up billing in order to get any map access. Although our blog was unlikely to exceed the free threshold, there wasn’t any way to say “just turn it off if it gets too much”, and I wasn’t willing to give Google a credit card (what if someone set up a bot to visit the site over and over, and I racked up a huge bill?). So, maps stopped working a few months back (or maybe it was about a year ago? I am not sure).

But over the past few days, I rewrote my WordPress plugin to use Open Street Map maps via the open-source JavaScript library called Leaflet, and got everything working pretty much like it was. Enjoy!

Update January 18: New interactive elevation charts! We don’t have them on the last few posts, but check out our cycling posts to see them. Fun!

Update January 26: A new theme for the site! A bit more modern-looking, and should be better on mobile devices (phones).