(Topic ID: 151561)

You Dudes are gonna love what's coming up!

By LaughingOtter

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 15 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by LaughingOtter
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders


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    #1 3 years ago


    Dunno if you've noticed that more than a hundred locations have vanished from the Pin Map. That's me incorporating and trimming away duplicate locations. Which is a great lead for the next bit!

    6,870 locations remain. Not for long.

    The Pin Map is about to add some really cool features!

    I am working with Robin to augment our already-awesome Pin Map with data available from Google. We're already doing this, but now:

    1) We can know if a location is in fact permanently closed. This was one of the biggest limiting factors of all game locators, especially when they grew sufficiently large. As far as I know, we're going to be the first to actively use this particular available technology.

    2) We will try to inform you if a location you enter already exists. Duplicates have always been a problem in game locators.

    2a) Common: One location beginning with The, and the other doesn't. You don't catch that on the alphabetical listings. (I found eight.)
    2b) Common: One location name with an apostrophe in it, the other doesn't. Sometimes you can catch that on alphabetical listings, sometimes the two get spread apart. (e.g.: ORourkes and O'Rourke's would appear in two very different places in an alpha listing. I found 20.)

    In many instances, I have transplanted relevant comments and other data to the remaining record. I really hated deleting some of these, some very detailed work was done on some of them! Of course I did a backup before this phase of work!

    3) Locations that are permanently closed and locations with zero games will not be displayed in the general search (because displaying locations like that tends to annoy rather than inform). However, if you happen to report a game in a place we've got in the database listed as such, don't be surprised when the interface asks you if it's the same place(ish). Martin Ayub (the UK Number One) says it's far more economical of time and effort if you mark the place as inactive. We don't know if the new place opening in its spot won't have games, eh? You enter the new place's name and verify the games and we're all set! I can tell you this very thing has happened MANY times!

    4) We have times of operation and/or a UTC offset for many active locations now. Knowing a location's daily operating hours is a big plus. If available, this will be displayed with a location's data. The initial data acquisition for this effort will take about three months, since I'm limited to two hundred of these particular data searches in one 24-hour period.

    Right meow I'm trying to catch up with all the updates and new places. That means zapping duplicates, and I've terminated more than 100 so far. However...

    Robin and I agree on crediting anyone who's done a new location post or an update, so there will actually be a history of updates log file happening now. That should help with data recovery in case of a Wipeout and we can credit everybody who's ever contributed to a particular location. I'm sure you'll all agree this would be a Good Thing.

    Forward into the past!


    #2 3 years ago


    #3 3 years ago

    Just geeking out, dude!

    Very happy to have a chance to use my programming experience to the Pin Map effort!

    (Great ringtone, eh?)

    #4 3 years ago

    Thanks Steve for all the hard work!

    #5 3 years ago

    Just the other day I added a duplicate location. I didn't realize it until it was too late.

    #6 3 years ago

    I forgot about this feature. I tend to use other pin finder apps when traveling as this one is clunky. I'm looking forward to the upgrades. Can you incorporate a "near me" button?
    Thanks for taking the time to make this function better.
    I just added a new location in Baltimore, Md btw.

    #7 3 years ago

    Awesome! and glad someone is putting some effort into the map feature.

    While you are at it, a few suggestions that pertain to the larger mapping and not just for locations.

    Would be AWESOME if when looking at the player map if the icon was differnet for those with active FS posts. Maybe another color for active wislist game or 2. I can explain the 'why'. When looking to purchase a new game, distance is oftena huge factor. If the market feaute could be combined with the map feature then I could mor easily search a radius. Same thing with selling a game. If I could look in the immediate area to see whom is looking for a game then I would reach out to them directly.

    Thing this is a bug with maps. If I click on a the location under someones avatar (for example Seattle on laughingotter) it just goes to the big zoomed out world map

    #8 3 years ago

    Here's a bunch of Canadian locations. I don't know how many you have already, but I believe this is fairly accurate


    #9 3 years ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Thing this is a bug with maps. If I click on a the location under someones avatar (for example Seattle on laughingotter) it just goes to the big zoomed out world map


    I just posted a bug thread based on this. If you notice any bugs anywhere on the site, feel free to start a bug thread so it can be addressed.


    #10 3 years ago

    Yeah, map has a decent amount of bugs but till now it seemed to be largely abandoned.

    #11 3 years ago

    By far the biggest thing the map needs is a way to be alerted when a location is added or updated within a certain radius. I'd take RSS, but email would work too. Otherwise it's too hard to keep track - stuff rolls off the "recently updated" too quickly and there's no way to see the whole history and find changes over time.

    #13 3 years ago


    Hey, dudes! Thanks for your suggestions! Now is definitely the time to request bug fixes!

    The first issue I'm going to tackle is duplicate locations because that involves verification and can/should be caught at that level. Once we've tackled that, we'll have established where the new functions and functionality can be built in to the existing source code. Calculating what one degree of longitude is in distance for a particular latitude is one of the first things you would do.
    I find it's very economical to have a sub-table that stores pre-calculated longitude distances for the locations in the database and the defined locations for each user (if they want to ID where they are). If a received latitude is sufficiently close (<3000 feet/900 meters) to at least three existing points you can use linear interpolation (mx+b) to get an accurate distance instead of calculating through a convergent trig sequence. Saves a LOT of compute cycles and time!

    It sounds like developing the locations sonar function would be a good second item on the dev list. If you (as a user) have defined where you are, then we have a lat/long geo-coordinate pair we can use to start the program. It's kind of a sonar effect. It tries to find all locations within one mile of you, then expands to five miles if nothing was detected by the one-mile scan, then continues in five-mile increments until something is found. That's where knowing how many miles are in one degree of longitude for a particular latitude becomes important!
    This looks like it would also tie in nicely with the Pin Biz area since it would be possible to spot sales within a radius of your current location.

    ForceFlow: I didn't know that before but that's definitely a flow breaker so I've put that on my list of things to solve!

    Whysnow: Good idea. Shouldn't be too hard to work that in. Again, being able to calculate distance based on geo-position was something that wasn't a function here before (lotsa trig work) and would tie in perfectly with your #1 suggestion.

    Luckydogg420: Never knew about that list before, but it's an amazing work and I'm going to include that in my location sources from now on! Take me a little time to sort out if I have all the listed places, but it looks like I very well might!

    westofrome: I have worked out how to create a sort of location sonar based on your last known geo-position. Locations Near You will definitely be part of the updates!

    Once we work all all the existing bugs and get this map back in top shape, yes, we're going to make a mobile app! I've done a little Java work for Android apps, and I have some Objective C knowledge which should cover the Macintosh side of things.

    #14 3 years ago


    Thanks for putting in the work on this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #15 3 years ago

    Incidentally, I don't want to knock the other locators, but...

    Pinball Map isn't up to the standards they used to have. Their main weakness is having things at the "city level". I put that in quotes because a city location on Pinball Map can be a 40-mile drive or so. The last time I did a data scan on them I found a dozen corrupted records and one that had a definitely malicious URL attached to it. (Now here's the moral dilemma: Do I tell them about it or do I let Google tell them first when the site gets a red screen because of that?)

    Pinball Rebel is a good reference but has virtually NO checking and verification. As such it's an invaluable reference for linking games to common spelling and punctuation errors, since it provides about 1500 ways to define 800 games. Hopefully we can create a new table based on these, because you could get acronyms to work through that very same table. Stuff like typing in MM brings up Medieval Madness, that sort of thing.

    Then there's the local efforts. I always use local over the big guys (including us).

    Skill Shot (Seattle's Pinball 'Zine): After more than seven years, Skill Shot still puts out near-monthly 'zines telling you all about local pinball and where to play (that's the centerfold, old man!). More than 100 local locations listed, and all of them visited in recent history! Bola Solvada!

    JAX Pinball: HighProtein in Jacksonville, FL, USA is pretty much the driving force behind well-maintained pinball in the area. He and his crew have a regularly-maintained what's where doc on FB.

    Colorado Pinball: This doc has been around for a very long time and is updated regularly enough to warrant keeping a constant watch on this effort. New locations do appear here before they appear on Pinball Map or PinballRebel or here. 'Nuff said!
    One thing I'd like to observe about the Colorado players is their playing intensity. Not as many players as in Seattle, but your typical Colorado player would beat your typical Seattle or Portland player.

    NYC Pinball: New York City Pinball has a pretty nice look to it. Their list is VERY up-to-date. We all know the NYC guys are manic about their pinball too, eh?

    Pinformer: This is the main pinball locator for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

    Austria: Austrians apparently love flipper games as much as we do! This site is the one to watch for this area!

    Focused on European locations (not USA/Canada/Australia/New Zealand).

    Pinball Locator Database. This was Theresa Dickert's final IT project once upon a time and occasionally gets updates.


    This site has been around for a long time. World records are tracked and a lot of the USA's arcade gaming community hook up through here!

    Zenius-i-vanisher: This was originally developed as a Dance Dance Revolution videogame tracker. The site's data model was designed exceptionally well and turned out to be able to handle any kind of game the first time off! Very good support, very active!

    AND NOW:
    I've written perl code to do data mining on all of the aforementioned sites and have tied them all in. Not so much a One Ring thing as much as trying to focus the location data (wrong location names, wrong addresses, and/or wrong cities do not help).

    Just waiting on the source code so I can start!

    More to follow!

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