Using Shortcuts app to add location data to my posts

by on 6 November 2019 in nablopomo

I’ve been playing around with the Shortcuts app since they added it to iOS. It allows you to string together actions to create automatic workflows.

I think it has a lot of potential for adding some IndieWeb features to my blog, which previously felt out of reach without using services like Instagram or Swarm (Boo!).

Borrowing an idea from Jeremy Keith

I spotted a while ago that Jeremy has location checkins attached to his image posts. I really had no idea how I might achieve this until I spotted that the Shortcuts app allows you to grab your phone’s location and do stuff with it.

I also realised that Jeremy passes the latitude, longitude and zoom level into an Open Street Map url that allows users to click through and see a map of the checkin location.

https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/51.2211/4.3997

Create a “copy my location” workflow

So I started playing with Shortcuts and came up with this workflow…

  • Get location (of my phone)
  • Extract the latitude, longitude and city as 3 separate variables
  • Insert those variables into a text template (which happens to be a short snippet of html)
  • Then copy that to my phone’s clipboard
Screenshot of Shortcuts app

Once workflows are created, you can even add them from the iOS’s “Today View”, so that they’re within easy reach. Having the text snippet in my clipboard means that I can paste into into a text editor when I’m writing posts either on my phone or my laptop.

Example

Posted from Cardiff, United Kingdom

HTML

<a href="https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=9/51.47608788174919/-3.179009460568023">
Posted from Cardiff, United Kingdom
</a>

Next steps

There is lots of potential for tweaking this workflow, and reusing the data to create embeddable maps, or categorising posts by location for example.

I’m also working on a more complex workflow that allows me to post photos (with location metadata) directly from my phone to my blog, using my image post template. Although that one has more moving parts, so I need to iron out a few things before sharing it.