This tutorial outlines the locations features in the TPE web app. In TPE, a location is defined as a map coordinate: latitude and longitude.
When saving a location, TPE records the red pin position along with the map zoom level. The elevation and time zone of the location are also stored as reference data.
Searching for locations
We covered the basics of searching for a new location in Part 1 of this series - please review that now if you haven't read it already. There are a few more things to add.
Types of search terms
You can search for address, place names, post codes, ZIP codes or coordinates. Type your search term in the field as shown:
If you're a PRO subscriber, you will see auto-complete suggestions as you type. If you don't have a PRO subscription, hit Enter or click the Search button to see results.
Note: autocomplete suggestions may differ from the results you see when you click Search. This is because autocomplete tries to make best guess matches to what you're typing. The search button finds specific matches only.
Here are some examples of things you can search for:
- Place names: e.g. Stonehenge, Schwabacher's Landing
- Addresses: e.g. St Paul's Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD
- Post codes: e.g. WC2E 9DD
- Zip codes: e.g. 10023. This returns places in Poland and Italy in addition to New York - the USPS doesn't have a monopoly on numeric postal code systems
- Coordinates (formatted in decimal degrees): e.g. 45.8326° N, 6.8652° E - the summit of Mont Blanc
- Three word addresses: e.g. branded.mull.song. what3words.com has divided the planet into 3 x 3m squares (~10 x 10ft) and given each a unique name - this can be great way to communicate about otherwise unnamed spots that landscape photographers may wish to reference.
If you enter coordinates, the app will also look up nearby places. In this example, I've entered the latitude/longitude of Mont Blanc. As you can see, the 'reverse geocoding' process finds nearby places, the first of which is, naturally, Mont Blanc:
Once you've found the search result you want, you have two options: (i) Go and (ii) Save:
- Three word address found from search term
- Go sets the primary pin to this location
- Save will add it to your saved locations list
After clicking Go, the primary (red) map pin is set to the correct coordinate:
- Primary pin is positioned to Columbus Circle, New York
For some results, it may be necessary to use the map buttons to zoom in or out. If you have zoomed to where your red pin is no longer in view, use the centre red pin button to move the red pin to the centre of the map; alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut C.
Sometimes after positioning the red pin, you might move the map until the red pin is out of view. To centre the map on the red pin, use the keyboard shortcut Shift-C.
Saving locations and the Locations page
If you wish to save a search result to your locations list, click Save as shown above. The app will navigate to the Saved Locations page and you will be able to rename the location, edit the coordinates and optionally enter some notes:
When done, click Save if you made changes, or otherwise, just click Close.
If we want to go back and edit the saved location, you'll need to be able to find it again in your list. We can search our list by typing in the 'Find in saved locations' field:
- Find in saved locations field
- Find and Clear buttons
Remember, this is not the same as searching for a new (unsaved) location: to find new places, use the Search button on the map page. To find saved locations, use these controls on the Saved Locations page.
The search function will find matches within both the title and notes fields of your saved locations. So, for example, to find the three word address we saved above, I can type 'New Y' (as the notes field included the words 'New York'), and it will be found:
You can click Clear to display the unfiltered locations list.
If you click the location displayed above to select it, some additional controls appear:
- Icon to indicate that the saved locations has Notes content
- Set the primary pin to this location
- Edit the saved location record
For saved locations, it can be useful to set up a naming convention for your locations from the start. Examples of possible naming conventions include:
- Country, province, location name: a search for “Mali” or “Lichtenstein” will display just the saved locations in those places
- A “project” name added to a location
A project name can help you distinguish between saved locations. In Colorado there are a number of mountains over 14,000ft that are known as “fourteeners”. If I filter my locations list using the search term “14er” (a common shorthand form), this would bring up any saved location with the word “14er” in the title. By adding the term “14er” to a saved location name, I can distinguish these particular Colorado mountains from other locations in my list.
You don’t have to use a naming convention: you can just rely on the default name given to the location when it is created. However, after using TPE for a while, you may end up with a long list of saved locations. Remember the most important consideration when naming a saved location is that it is easy to find again: don’t get too cryptic!
- Add current primary pin position as a saved location - see Part 1 for details
- Import locations from KML
- Export locations to KML
- Synchronize Locations
Importing and exporting locations
In TPE you can easily import and export locations using the “.kml” file format for 2D and 3D map-based data. Google Earth uses the same file format. You can view exported TPE locations in Google Earth and vice versa.
Import a KML file to TPE
KML is a standardised format for geographic information. TPE can import KML files that include Placemarks.
As an example, we'll use some KML downloaded from Wikipedia. Wikipedia has all sort of lists of interesting places. Grab the KML from the List of Himalayan Peaks and Passes:
- Download the KML as shown by clicking the link. This will normally end up in your browser's Downloads folder.
Next, click the Import button (labelled 2 in the last but one screenshot). Drag and drop the downloaded KML file to the pop-up form:
- Drag and drop the KML file to the area indicated. Alternatively, click in the grey area to display a file selection dialog. Only one file can be uploaded at a time.
You should see 43 new locations imported. The app tags these with the time at which they were imported, and sets the filter to show only the newly created locations:
- 43 locations imported
- "Imported at" tag set in the filter field
- New locations listed
Click Clear to view the full locations list once again.
Export a KML file from TPE
By default, TPE exports all locations on view in the locations page. On clicking the export button without filtering a list, TPE will automatically export all of your saved locations. To export just one location, or a small selection, use the filter field to restrict the list to only the locations you wish to export. Once filtered, TPE will only export the visible, filtered locations.
a) If you want to export a filtered list, filter the locations first
b) Click the “Export” button
c) The KML file is generated and can be found in your browser’s default download folder.
Your saved locations are automatically synchronized to our server from time to time. When the Synch button (4 above) is shown in blue, that means there are pending changes on your local machine to synch to the cloud. Otherwise, locations are synched every few minutes while the locations page is open, and also when you first navigate to it and when you leave it.
Synch works on the principle of 'last change wins'. If you save changes (let's call them Edit A and Edit B) to the same location on two devices (let's call them Machine 1 and Machine 2), then Edit B will overwrite Edit A unless you synch both devices in order after making the first change. The first synch writes Edit A from Machine 1 to the server. The second synch pulls Edit A down to Machine 2.
In general, just follow the habit of edit, then synch, and things work pretty much as you'd expect.