I’m excited to announce the public release of WP-GeoMeta!
What is WP-GeoMeta?
WP-GeoMeta is real spatial support for the WordPress metadata system. When you store GeoJSON with app_post_meta, update_post_meta or other related functions WP-GeoMeta converts it into a format that MySQL can understand and stores it in a spatial data table.
Later, when you want to run a spatial search, you can use WP_Query or get_posts you can use MySQL spatial functions in your search.
In other words, WP-GeoMeta makes it possible to use WordPress as a lightweight Geographic Information System (GIS).
What is WP-GeoMeta? In English this time.
Spatial data is data about places, (mostly latitude and longitude). If you’re storing information about things with places in WordPress, you probably want to store the place information too. That’s spatial data.
For point data you can store latitude and longitude in separate metadata fields and print them out, or use them to display the points on a map or do basic searches with them.
What if you want to store line data though? Line data could include rivers, roads, hiking or biking trails, trips you’ve taken or a GPS trace of your cat’s daily journey.
Or polygon data? Property boundaries, lakes, counties, states, school districts, sales regions, wilderness areas and countless other features can be stored as polygons.
How would you store those shapes in the metadata table? How would you search for them?
WP-GeoMeta makes it possible to store and search any of these geometry (or shape) types using WordPress’s normal metadata storage and search functions.
I Don’t Have Any Spatial Data
Want some to play with? There is a ton of free spatial data available today. Many government, non-profits and regular companies release spatial data that is free to use. You could start with your local and regional government websites if you want local data. Otherwise, Natural Earth has a good collection or you can check out the List of GIS data sources on Wikipedia.
You may not have any spatial data yet, but there are literally thousands of uses for GIS and spatial data, so bookmark this plugin. You’ll be glad you did when that spatial WordPress project comes along.
Who Is This For?
At the moment WP-GeoMeta will be most useful to developers. It can also be used as a library so that plugin developers can easily add support for spatial metadata to their plugins.
It can also be installed as a plugin on it’s own, to add spatial support to your own WordPress site. You could then store and search spatial data from your own functionality plugin, or from your theme’s functions.php.