Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Barton Fair: Create Personalized Google Maps

Google Street Map - map-generator.net
This is an interactive, clickable, zoomable map of the Orleans County Fairgrounds in Barton, Vermont. The fair, usually called the Barton Fair, opens tomorrow and goes through Sunday. My favorite parts of the fair are the poultry exhibits and the demolition derby. (Yes, I want chickens!)

The fair has a notorious history. You can read about it in this lengthy but excellent article that I found that gives you the flavor of my area. Edward Hoagland wrote in the article "Natural light: Life among Vermont's hippies, hunters, bears, and moose" about his life in Barton for Harper's Magazine in October 2000 that :
In Barton we had a wild, cruel county fair with (deleted) girlie shows--$3 for (deleted) – famous among carnie types as far south as Alabama, that the Quebecois poured across the border by the thousands to see.
In her book A History of Barton, Vermont, Darlene Young writes that the Vermont attorney general's office "concluded that the shows at the Orleans County Fair were 'the roughest of any in the state' and included illegal activities." She continues:
The fair did eventually eliminate the "girlie shows" [in the last half of the 1970s] from its attractions, but it was only partially in response to the public outcry. When Canadian spectators decreased, the fair directors lost their main justification for the "girlie shows": the shows simply weren't making as much money.

By that time, the fair had discovered a new moneymaker. In 1975, the Orleans County Fair hosted its first demolition derby.
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I am experimenting tonight with an embedded Google map of the location of the fairgrounds (about 3 miles from my house). I read in Create Personalized Google Maps: "The Google Operating System Blog" (it is not an official Google blog) that Google announced today that next week embedded maps will be available for blogs. You will be able to embed an interactive map just like you embed a YouTube video. That will be great because right now you have to jump through hoops to get a map here on Blogger. (See the Google Earth Challenge posts to see what many of us have done).

At this time, according to another post on this blog, Embedding Google Maps, you have two methods to embed a map in your blog post. I tried them both. Both are free.

Map Generator is the easiest to use if you know the exact address of the location you want to map (often very difficult in this area). After I found the address of the fairgrounds on Google Maps and put that address into Map Generator, it was a snap to get the code to embed my map here. However, I had to alter the code for the embedded map so that it would fit within the middle blog column. If you are not willing to do that, you could end up with a very messy blog. My Maps Plus was very difficult for me to use. I did not like the map it created at all.

However, if you can wait until Google makes embedded maps available, you won't need to use either of these sites. Have fun with your maps! Watch the Google Earth Blog and Google LatLong Blog for announcements.

If you are able, come to the fair. It's clean and fun!

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