Flexible Maps Again

I had previously figured out how to use the WP Flexible Map plug-in to re-integrate my Navionics KML files with my WordPress blog after changes to Google MAps made my old way inoperable. Those links, however, no longer seem to work. Either those links die after a certain period of time or, as the links themselves seem to indicate, Navionics has changed file servers to Amazons S3 service and broken them all. I could go back and relink them all but that seemed futile and, likely, temporary.

This means I need to figure out how to solve my  problem again. And this time I intend to just figure out how to download the KMZs to my own file server or cloud and then cut out the possibility of depending on someone else’s data storage.

As a side note, Google has finally discontinued support for their old maps application and moved completely to the new one — which was what caused me problems in the first place. Older KMZ links to Google Maps from past adventures still seem to work, albeit very slowly.

My first plan was to use Dropbox as a file server. Along the way I discovered that Flexible Maps was now properly using KMZs — not sure when that happened. This allowed me to drop the step where I had to open up the KML file on Navionics server and the copy and paste the url to WordPress.

To Use Dropbox, I created a kmz folder in the Public Folder provided by Dropbox and then, in Navionics, shared the Track creating an email with link to the KML, a graphic of the track and an attached kmz file. The problem here is that to make the link to the kmz attachment clickable, you had to actually email it. To get the kml, the link was already active — you only had to click it to open it in Safari. Remember this is all has to be done on my iPhone. So I sent the email.

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After receiving and opening the email to myself, I could hold down the kmz link and save the file to Dropbox, selecting my KMZ folder in the Public folder. So far so good, except I soon discovered that while using the browser or desktop interface I could easily generate a public link, this functionality was not available on the Dropbox iOS app. All I could do was download it. This means I had no url to paste into WordPress. Back to square one. But since I wasn’t completely keen on hosting the KMZs on Dropbox anyway ( I tend to think of it as ephemeral storage) I guess that is a good thing.

Plan B is to create a kmz folder on Macblaze.ca and find an ftp app to upload the KMZs there. I downloaded FTP Manager Free, and went through the whole process again. To be safe I created a new ftp user account on my hosting site that only had access to the kmz folder. So now I open the file on the received email and open with FTP Manager. From there I upload it to the kmz folder and voila…

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Now I have a web-accessible link on my own webserver that will get backed up with the rest of my files. To call the KML file you simply include the shortcode [flexiblemap src="http://macblaze.ca/kmz/source url"]

Next

I am not overly happy with FTP Manager for this purpose ( a few too many steps for such a simple operation) and really don’t like having to send a n email to myself. This can get problematic when floating in some secluded bay somewhere with crappy access to the internet. I will keep looking but for now I guess I go back and redo all the old links…