Finally found some time to play with Google Maps. It is shockingly easy to create something with it and I decided to integrate it into my webalbum. I'm using JAlbum to generate a website for my photo's and using the Chameleon skin you generate a decent website easily. The Chamelon skin already links to Google Maps, but in a separate pop-up window and I wanted to have the map info next to the photo's themselves. Another feature I wanted was to have an overview of all photo locations on the index pages. Using the Google Maps API and by tweaking the Chameleon skin this was pretty easy to accomplish.

First challenge I had to solve was one related to Google Maps. When you sign up for the Google Maps API you get a API key that must be included in the pages that display a map. This key is bound to 1 directory and since most photo albums are organized in some form or directory structure that would require a new API key for each directory. Not very practical, especially when you use a automated process to organize your photo's by date of subject like me. The solution to this was to display the map in an iframe, this iframe is then included on the web album pages and because it is always the same page displayed in the iframe, it is possible to use 1 Google Maps API key. By including a couple of parameters (map width/height, coordinates, url of KML file) the contents of the map can be controlled by the page including the iframe.

Another challenge was not including hardcoded addresses in the templates. For a long time I was able to keep hardcoded addresses out of the solution, but in the end it became necessary to know the location at which the generated webalbum would be hosted. Reason being that the page containing the Google Maps scripts that is used in the iframe may be at a different server/location then the webalbum. However, for the index pages the Google Maps code needs to retrieve a KML file from the location where the webalbum is hosted and therefore needs the exact address.
Two properties have been added to the JAlbum project file:

# The root where the webalbum will be hosted
# The location of the HTML page that displays the map and
# has the Google Maps code in it
# This location is bound to the Google Maps API key.


Both of the above properties could include a host name, but since I'm hosting everything on the same server that was not necessary for me.

The rest was pretty easy. JAlbum uses some template files to generate the webalbum pages and in these templates you have access to the details of the photo(s) being displayed. On the index template (index.htt) this information is used to generate a KML file of which the URL is passed to the iframe. The index pages display 1 marker for all photo's at the same location, when clicking the marker the balloon shows thumbnails of all images at that location. Clicking on one of the thumbnails takes you to large version of that photo.

On 1 photo template (slide.htt) the information provided by JAlbum is used to pass the coordinates of the current image.

There is probably some optimization possible (see also comments in the index.htt, slide.htt and googlemaps.html file), but getting this first version to work was great fun and really easy. The changes made to the standard index.htt and slide.htt file can be easily identified by searching for 'GOOGLE MAPS'.

Want to see what it looks like? Go here.


  1. Gero said...

    Hi i tried to patch my existing Chameleon skin according you definition
    1. replace index.htt, slide.htt from your posting to
    --> C:\Program Files\JAlbumWin\skins\Chameleon
    2. insert the two params skin.webroot, to
    --> jalbum-settings_chameleon.jap
    3. copy the file googlemaps.html to my root folder of my album
    --> /Album/googlemaps.html
    4. Create Album
    I'm not seeing the google map in the slide or in the inde view
    Whats wrong ?
    Note: Comment imported. Original by Anonymous at 2008-01-20 20:56  

  2. Gero said...

    I'm assuming that the property correctly points to the googlemaps.html file on your server. (so you can access that one from the browser, it then does not show anything but at least you're sure it can be accessed.)

    In the googlemaps.html file there is a section that contains the Google Maps API key. This key is bound to a specific directory on a server and in this case it is my server. What you need to do is to get your own Google Maps API key at and then include this in the JavaScript code below the comment that has 'Google Maps API key' in it in the googlemaps.html file.

    Hope this helps...

    Note: Comment imported. Original by Gero Vermaas ( email: website: ) at 2008-01-21 11:06  

  3. Gero said...

    Hi Gero
    I tried everthing and it's not working. I think there something basically wrong. If I search your index.html I can find the
    function getGoogleMapsIframe(iframeUrl)
    in my one there is nothing in that direction. Which part of Jalbum is embedding the function? I think there's the error.
    Note: Comment imported. Original by Anonymous at 2008-01-21 21:30  

  4. Gero said...

    The getGoogleMapsIframe() function is in the index.htt file, you'll need to copy this file into the JAlbum/skins/Chameleon directory (and also the slide.htt file)

    Note: Comment imported. Original by Gero Vermaas ( email: website: ) at 2008-01-22 09:52  

  5. Gero said...

    I did and it's not working. I'm using JAlbum 7.4 1
    Do you think it could be dependend on the version ?
    Note: Comment imported. Original by Anonymous at 2008-01-22 22:40  

  6. Gero said...

    Maybe it is dependent on the version. I'm running 7.3. Any change you can try 7.3?

    Note: Comment imported. Original by Gero Vermaas at 2008-01-23 10:33  

  7. Gero said...


    I tried using JAbum 7.4.1 and also discovered that it does not work with 7.4.1. I'm fixing this now and will post a new blog entry shortly describing the changes needed.

    Note: Comment imported. Original by Gero Vermaas ( email: website: ) at 2008-02-02 14:16  

  8. Gero said...

    Hi Gero,

    Thanks for this cool addon. I modified it a bit to use some Windows properties from the image, and geocode the address using Google's geocoder URL (

    Thanks once again.

    Note: Comment imported. Original by Anonymous at 2008-05-12 02:31  

  9. Anonymous said...

    on your webalbum page I don't see a map next to the image on the slides, only only on the index page.  

  10. Gero said...


    Maps are only shown for albums that have pictures with GPS coordinates. See for example  

  11. Anonymous said...

    but there also I can only see a map on the index page. slides don't show the map, see for example this link:  

  12. Chris said...

    I have a question: You write that you do this whole iframe thing because the Google Maps API key is limited to one directory. However, when you signup for that key at Google, it says

    "Tip: Signing up a key for is usually the best practice, as it will work for all subdomains and directories. See this FAQ for more information."

    So one API key should be fine. In fact, your Chamaeleon mod could probably be published and installed as a normal skin, without having to modify files individually, all one would need is to enter the API key. Or am I missing something here?  

  13. Gero said...


    I see what you mean, will investigate...  

  14. Gero said...


    Back when I made this, it was not possible to use 1 key for your whole domain (AFAIK), but now that it is possible, you're right.  

  15. Carsten said...

    Hi Gero,
    I had a lot of fun with your skin and meanwhile managed to upload my album the way I want it. However, I discovered two things, one if which I was able to fix:
    1) If one wants to include the original images in the album, one has to choose "Link to originals via scaled images" in jalbum settings/navigation. When doing this, the slide pages get created without map. By editing slide.htt I could fix this, I uploaded the new slide.htt at
    2) If you have many pictures, you will notice that on all index pages except the first one the Google Map does not work. Example: Instead, the map on the first index page does contain markers for ALL images, even those on the other index pages. I don't know if and how this can be fixed.

    By the way, the whole thing doesn't work in the most recent Jalbum anymore, but that's fine, as one can easily download 8.1.6 on the jalbum web site.  

  16. Gero said...


    I've incorporated your suggestions in new version of the index.htt and slide.htt files. See this post:


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