Mapping Change (Dennis Aubrey)

Many people have asked us the location of the churches are that we write about, so about three years ago we started a project that showed all of the churches on Google Maps. We did this for France, Spain, and Germany. We used selectable layers and the solution worked well; readers were able to follow a link to the map, see the church in situ, and explore other churches in the region.

Unfortunately, Google decided to change the Maps API and it is no longer possible to use the maps in this way anymore, so we have explored other options. Just this week we found Mapbox and it seems to be a workable replacement. We imported a KML file from Google and loaded it up and all of our churches were there! It seemed simple, but we then had to rebuild all of the links (each site linked back to the article describing the church), we had to convert the index page to reflect the new map link, and we had to go back and change the link on all 146 articles that linked to the map in the first place. Aaaaghh.


But the job is mostly done and you can now see the results. Each marker shown indicates a church for which we have done at least one article and links to that article. Of course if you click the France page under “Featured Churches” you get the index page as usual. Hope you enjoy this and happy explorations.

18 thoughts on “Mapping Change (Dennis Aubrey)

    1. There is a free version for one domain, which is the one I am using. Also, Emmanuel, I exported as a KML file, which works well except for the links, which are listed out and no longer preserved as links. But Mapbox also imports (and exports) .geojson files, which work much better because the links are preserved. If Google Maps allowed me to export .geojson files, it would have been so much easier to convert the map. But I cannot find a way to convert a Google map to .geojson.

  1. What a generous, heroic thing to do ! Thanks for all that work and thank you for this delightful site.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this. I hope to use your resources in the next year or two on a trip to France. At least one link doesn’t work – the one for Mont St Vincent, Saone and Loire yields this: is no longer available. I only happened to look at the ones near Tournus because I’d been there.

    1. Thanks so much for the information on the link; I fixed it already. I think this must have been from the nightmare time when I deleted our entire site and it was only recovered by the good offices of the technicians at WordPress. The link that you found refers to that alternate site when we decided that we had to rebuild from scratch.

      As far as Mont Saint-Vincent is concerned, it was a good choice. It is the only other church to use transverse barrel vaults in the nave like Tournus!

  3. This is very helpful for me. A French friend from Perpignan tells me there are a lot of smaller churches in that region. You have two abbeys marked in the south-east near Spain, but do you know of any small Romanesque places I should look for? I’ll be there in a few weeks.

    1. Trish, sorry I missed this. There are a multitude of churches in the French Pyrenees – most important are Saint Martin-du-Canigou (listed on the map), Saint Michel de Cuxa, Ile-sur-Tet, Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines, Saint-André-de-Sorede, Prieuré de Serrabone, Prunet-Belpuig! So many others, one of the riches troves in France. Literally ground-zero! Let me know how long you will be there and how you will be traveling (auto?). We envy you this trip. We’ve been trying to get back for some time now. You’ve made me realize how remiss we have been in articles about this region. We’ll have to get back on track.

      Also, here is a link you might like.

  4. The last time I went, a couple of years ago, you recommended some churches in the region. I visited Elne, Saint-Génis des Fontaines and Saint-Martin du Canigou. Also, a church in the centre of Lyon, le Basilique Saint-Martin d’Ainay. Now you’ve given me a few more to aim for. I took a tour mini-bus to S-M du Canigou, and visited the others by myself on local buses. That’s how I get around most of the time. I also have a friend with a car who is happy to show me the out-of-the-way places. She recommends small churches that are not in the tourist brochures. I’ll also look at a few places in Spain, so the terre catalane link you gave me is very good to read. Thanks. If I take any half-decent photos I might write a blog post or two.

    1. Now I remember that we did recommend some churches. When you went to Saint Martin-du-Canigou, did you get a chance to meet Sister Anne de Jesus? She is really wonderful, and hosted us for a full day at the monastery. Trish, it is so full of churches (we just started a post today on the Église Sainte-Marie à Corneilla-de-Conflent. Should be ready in a couple of days. We also realized that we never did a post on Saint Michel de Cuxa, although we have featured its famous (half) cloister. Look forward to seeing your blog post when you return!

      1. When I booked my trip up to Saint Martin du Canigou I thought of your post about Sister Anne. But there was no chance of meeting her on a tour with a bunch of people. One monk did mention to us that they allow people to stay, to retreat from the busyness of life for a while. Wouldn’t it be a great place to spend some time writing!

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