Adding Costco Gas Stations to Google Maps

How many time have you gone to search for something on the Internet, and it just wasn’t there?

Many times travelling over the last few years, I’ve wanted to know where there was a Costco gas station along my route. Their gas prices are usually the most competitive in a particular area. Finding a location along your route is hard to do when all you have is a list sorted alphabetically by State and City.

So I took the PDF of Costco Gas Stations from the Costco website, extracted it, massaged the data to import it into a database, converted it into KML, and added it to Google Maps.

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I discovered after importing the data, that Google Maps paginates your data set after 200 entries. Since the original data was sorted by State and the City, all the locations are not shown at once. There are 300 Costco Gas Stations in the list.

A more useful arrangement would be to sort the data by ZIP code, and break it into two sets: East and West. I’ll try to find some time for that in the next week.

There were some data validation problems with the original data set also, mainly having to do with non-plain text characters in the data. For example, 1001 Boul. Jean-Baptiste-Rolland, Saint-Jérôme, Quebec J7Y 4Y7 failed validation. The é and ô had to be changed to e and o.

Disclaimer: I was not asked by Costco to do this, and have no ties other than a common membership.

In what way could this map be improved? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

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Adding Costco Gas Stations to Google Maps by Jim Bergman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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