Using Workflow to get map images of locations

We just got back from vacation. By just I mean last weekend, but I may still be in denial that it’s over. I haven’t had a lot of time since, though, to write much, so I am working on that. In the meantime, I thought I’d just share a simple little workflow I sometimes find useful for saving locations.

There are plenty of ways to share your location with others these days, be it through the recently added features in Google Maps, the built-in options in Apple Messages, or some other service such as Glympse. There are also plenty of ways to save locations, using apps like Swarm (Foursquare) or, one of my favorites, Rego (more on that in the future, probably). Though not created specifically for saving locations, Day One is also a great app here, with its quick and easy Check-in feature, and ability to add location to a journal entry’s metadata. Usually, if I am saving a location, it is going to be by taking the location data from a photo using Rego, or creating a Day One journal entry. Sometimes, however, I want more than just a location’s coordinates, or a link to open it in Maps. Sometimes, I want to have a map image of the location.

While I could certainly take a screenshot in whatever map app I happen to be using, that requires cropping and potentially more. I want something I can access easily, tap, and get a map image of my current location, without having to tell it anything. Luckily Workflow provides a very simple way to get this, thanks to its ContentKit framework. When you pass input to an action in Workflow, that action will process the input based on the type of input it is expecting or capable of receiving. If you pass a photo into the Get Text from Input action, the output obviously wont be the photo. Workflow knows you want text, so it gets the only text associated with the input: the file name of the photo.

You might see where I’m going with this: Using this same concept, we can pass a location into the Get Images from Input action in a workflow. The only image that would be associated with location data, at least as far as Workflow is concerned, is a map image of that location, and so that is what it gives you. This means we can simply use the Get Current Location action, followed by Get Images from Input to get our map image for the current device location. You can use Workflow’s magic variables system to easily construct some more details, if you would like to share or save the image along with a location name, coordinates, or perhaps a Maps or Google Maps link.

Here is a simple version of the workflow that gets the map image and then lets you share it. Here is what the output looks like:

The workflow results in an image of a map of the current location.

If you have any questions about setting the workflow up for more specific scenarios or run into trouble with it, feel free to reach out to me.

Day One introduces end-to-end encryption

Today saw the launch of version 2.2 of my favorite journaling app Day One. This update brings their most-requested feature, end-to-end encryption. Launched in 2011, Day One previously offered the option to sync your journal via Dropbox or iCloud. This changed in 2015 when they switched to the proprietary Day One Sync, as version 2.0 brought several changes in the form of a new app, allowing for multiple journals, among other improvements. Day One Sync is part of a bigger plan, including their IFTTT integration and eventual expansion to the web, as well as Windows an Android.

This update comes weeks after another update which introduced the ability to have your journals printed as books and delivered to you. If you aren’t familiar with Day One, it’s my favorite way to journal and keep track of events, trips, or any other special memories. The Activity Feed feature makes it easy to import events and posts from your calendar, social media accounts, Photos, and locations you visit. If you’re interested in life-logging or quantified self stuff, or you just want to build a good journaling habit, I can’t recommend Day One enough. You can grab it here for $4.99 as a universal app on iOS (macOS version is also available).