Live Maps Collections Mobile – Create a collection and add it to your phone

With the recent update of Live Search for Mobile comes the ability to access collections on your mobile device.  The feature comes with a few preloaded collections, and you can search through items collected by others, but it becomes much more powerful when you add your own collections.  While it certainly isn’t “seamless computing” at this point, adding a collection takes just a few steps, and with a few tricks it can really add to the mobile experience with Live Search for Mobile.  Steve Lombardi from Live Maps shows us around the new features, and I’ll show you how to add your own collections to your phone.

The Collections tab in Live Search Maps allows you to search through items in collections that others have posted, sorted by tag or collection, by using the search tools on Live Maps:

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You can zoom in to an area on a map, and sort by tag, or by items with photos, 3d buildings, or MapCruncher layers (the three icons).  And yes you can subscribe to those, as well.  But another way the Live Search for Mobile Collections feature is interesting is when you create your own collection, and then access it on your mobile device (Windows Mobile, Blackberry, or any phone with a browser and a data plan).  That’s what we’re going to do here.

First, for an overview, here’s the video I did with Steve Lombardi a couple weeks ago, the one I couldn’t show you at the time.  I had to get a little creative with the video because when we were setting up the mobile shot, while I was worrying about getting a good clear picture that filled the screen, I shot the phone sideways (doh!).  So I played the video on my monitor and reshot it, which is why Steve’s phone looks so fat.  Better than having to look at it sideways, believe me.  Anyway, here’s the video (about 7 minutes):

So Steve already had his music venues collection loaded on his phone, but what if you want to load your own collection?  It took a little trial and error, but here’s what I came up with:

Let’s start by creating a collection in Live Maps on the desktop.  Here I’ve signed in to my Windows Live ID, created a little collection, and am adding it to my favorites:

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Then we need to get to the collection.  Adding it to Favorites just makes that easy, so you don’t have to search through the public collections to find yours.  Actually you can eliminate most all of these steps and just search for your collection on your mobile device, but I found that a little tricky, and it seemed like the program didn’t always find the collection I was looking for (and I think it takes a while for them to appear, too).  These steps just make the process work quickly, without searching. 

So once you’ve created a collection, and added it as a favorite, open Favorite collections under Collections in the upper right of Live Maps, like this:

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Here’s the collection.  Now, click on the subscribe button, and capture the url for the collection’s feed by right clicking on Subscribe to this feed and copy the shortcut:

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Note that you’re adding the collection as an RSS subscription.  So by going back and editing your collection on your desktop you won’t have to mess with anything on the phone, the collection will stay current.  Not quite Live Mesh for the phone, but we’re getting there!

Now in order to get this over to your Windows Mobile phone with Live Search for Mobile, you need to manually enter the URL, so using a service like TinyURL can save a lot of input:

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OK that’s it for the desktop, now on to the phone.  First, open Live Search for Mobile, and then open Collections:

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Open the menu, and “Add Collection using URL”:

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Click Done, and the Collection is added:

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Now if you’ve just created the collection, it may take a bit for the RSS to update, but it only took a few minutes for my Collection to show up:

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From there, you can map the item, search near it, get directions (from the location stored on on Live Search for Mobile, or if you have a GPS enabled device, from your GPS location), or move on to the next item in the collection.

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Creating Collections on your PC, moving them to your phone, and then being able to take that info out in the field adds a lot of value to Live Search Maps.  We do wish it was a bit easier (how about having Favorites available on the phone, for example?), but it’s a very good start, and a lot of fun.