address book software with mapping function
June 1, 2005 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to find some software that exists in my mind, but I don't know if it exists in real life. I want a way to represent the people in my address book as dots on a [US] map, somewhat dynamically. OSX or web-based. Free or cheap, not subscription-based, though I would pay more for the exact right app.

I travel often and tend to ask the same question over and over again "Who is near where I am going to be?" Since I often drive places, the question expands to the more complicated "Who is on the way to where I am going?" What I'd like is a way to keep track of people's contact info in some sort of address book that would allow me to see where they lived on a US map. Currently, I do this with a map on paper and a magic marker. This may be the best way, but then again it may not.

- Ideally this software could then BE my address book, so it would hold other things like phone numbers, birthdays, whatever. It could have one big freeform text area, that would be fine.
- Ideally I could import data into this from my existing address book as CSV or tab delimited data.
- Ideally I could look at a big US map, or a map for a specific state.
- Maps don't have to have other features like county lines, roads, etc.
- Doesn't have to be more specific than zip code level, I can do street maps myself some other way.

I assume salesmen use something similar to this for managing contacts, but I'm not even sure I know what something like this would be called. Also the mapping feature is essential, not optional. Does such a program exist?
posted by jessamyn to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, one idea I have is to use that web thingy that places a dot on the map when you enter a zip code - I'll try to find the link.

You could do that, take a screenshot, and then place all the dots on one map.

Of course, that has no features, is a lot of work, and no fun at all.
posted by agregoli at 7:49 AM on June 1, 2005

I don't think anything fitting this description exists currently, but if you don't mind something web-based, it's theoretically hackable with one of the Google Maps hacks, by exporting the addresses to an XML file that the hack can process. Note: I haven't tried this and I may not fully understand it.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:58 AM on June 1, 2005

agregoli - You mean this?
posted by grateful at 8:18 AM on June 1, 2005

Just for the record: That's a damn good idea. And if someone wrote this program as shareware for OS X, I'd buy it.
posted by cribcage at 8:22 AM on June 1, 2005

along the lines of what mcwetboy was talking about. Maybe this and this could be helpful?
posted by freudianslipper at 9:21 AM on June 1, 2005

As long as you have long/lat it's actually surprisingly easy to code up on a map with cylindrical projection. The conversion from zipcodes is slightlier trickier (you'd have to find a free database to do lookup on, perhaps you could rip the one out of zipdecode linked above). All in all, if you don't find what you're looking for it wouldn't be that expensive to commission someone.
posted by fvw at 8:03 PM on June 1, 2005


How about It meets all of your criteria. It does in fact just have "one big freeform text area" and if it's okay with you then it's okay with me. Actually, it does have fields for an address, a url and a picture but the system doesn't use the address field and there's no special field for email, phone, etc...

You can enter data from a CSV text file but you need lat/lon. I think they're planning to support address entry Real Soon Now.
posted by stuart_s at 7:47 PM on June 8, 2005

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