Post date: Jan 6, 2014 12:57:11 AM

Mapping Members of a Ning Community

So you've got your Ning network setup and members are finally starting to join and engage with one another. Now What? Map your members of course! What you are making...

Back in 2010, I showed you how to map your members on Ning 2.0, but this process needed a little bit of updating. If at any time you'd like some help with mapping your Ning network members, simply send me a request. I'm happy to help..

Keep These Things in Mind:

    • The only way this will work is if you have a question in your profile questions which asks for exact location, geodetic coordinates or similar.

    • This will have to be reprocessed in the following fashion EVERYTIME you want to update your map

    • This will only work as a top level admin or NC

    • Its best to have a Gmail or Google Account to complete this tutorial, so get one if you do not have already.

    • For networks with less than 1000 members, the process described in my last post using Mapalist should do just fine.

Steps for Mapping Your Members:

Short Steps for Mapping Your Members:

    1. Export your member data

    2. Import the CSV to google docs

    3. Convert spreadsheet into a fusion table

    4. Geocode the Location Column

    5. Set privacy to anyone with link

    6. Embed in a page..

Steps for Mapping Explained:

Export your member data - Go to the admin dashboard of your network and go to the Member Management section, scroll to the bottom right and you'll see a link to "Export Member Data". In a few minutes you'll recieve an email with your member data. Download that spreadsheet/csv file to your computer.

Import the CSV to google docs- Now import that spreadsheet to google drive/google docs converting it into the google spreadsheets or CSV format. Try to make sure that ALL COLUMNS HAVE AT LEAST SOME DATA IN THEM because if you have too many empty cells in the spreadsheet, it will not process in the next step. Now assuming you do not want all of your member data to be public, you'll want to delete a few of the columns such as Email,Recieving Broadcasts, Date Joined, Age, Gender... these will be entirely up to you. Now click Share> Anyone with the Link

Convert spreadsheet into a fusion table- Create a new fusion table like so:

*If you do not have fusion tables you can add them as a Drive app by clicking Create>More Apps and find Fusion Tables App.

*Sometimes when creating a fusion table and trying to import strait from Google Docs, you'll get an error. When this happens, go to the spreadsheet and click File> Download As> CSV File then reupload that csv file to the Fusion Table Interface.

Geocoding the Data

Geocode the Location Column- Now that you have your spreadsheet converted into a Fusion Table, click File> Geocode and select either the column for "Location" or "Country" and let this process run while it converts the Location names into Latitude/Longitude. Networks with many members will obviously take longer than smaller networks. Setting privacy to anyone with link will allow you to embed your map into a page on your network.

Embed Map into a Page - Now you can embed your map by clicking Map of Locations>Publish and grab the HTML to embed as Iframe.

Updating the Member Map - From time to time, you'll want to repeat this process again to update the map. The best way to do this is to repeat the process and then go to File>Merge and merge the new table with your former table.

Customizing Your Info Boxes for Member Map

There are a variety of ways that you can customize the display of your map and placemark info, which I can cover in future posts, if requested in the comments below. In fact I can think of a few follow up posts which could be helpful such as Exporting the Data as KML for Google Earth, Adding custom icons, styling the info window, adding a search field...the sky is the limit! If this process looks daunting to you, I am happy to help you map your members for you for a small fee and you can send me a request through my profile.

Enjoy Creators and let me know your thoughts below...

Oh yeah.. the final result: