Many Google Maps plugins have a convoluted admin workflow for creating locations in WordPress. Some of the clunkier solutions actually require you to look up longitude and latitude coordinates to manually input for pinpointing. Very few maps plugins utilize custom post types to provide a user-friendly input.
Stellar Places is a new plugin designed to provide an intuitive way to create, manage and display locations in WordPress. The plugin registers a custom post type for locations with integrated Google maps. Once activated, a new Places menu shows up in the WordPress admin:
Scroll down to enter location data, which is pulled in via Google Maps. You can enter an exact address, just the cross streets, exact coordinates, etc. There’s a good deal of flexibility in entering a location to pinpoint. The map and extra data fields are automatically updated with your location, without refreshing the page.
Places added can be accessed on the front end via the location listing view or single location view with the associated maps. Maps can be inserted into a page or post using the
[stellar_places_map] shortcode. Stellar Places also allows you to display multiple locations on the same map.
The shortcode for embedding places is extremely customizable and includes parameters for customizing HTML attributes, such as ID, class, width, and height. It also includes query parameters for limiting the display by post_type, taxonomy, term, category, and post_id. Shortcode map settings allow you to specify latitude/longitude for the map center, mapType, scrollwheel, zoom, minzoom, maxzoom, and infowindows.
The plugin is also mobile-friendly and produces responsive maps that are easy to navigate on devices. This makes it ideal for featuring local events, divided by categories. You could also use it to create a store locator for businesses that have multiple physical locations. Each location gets its own dedicated page and will automatically appear in the list of all locations.
Stellar places features include:
- Live map preview
- Drag and drop marker relocation
- Location pages for better SEO
- Unlimited locations and maps
- Mobile friendly, responsive maps
- Easy map embeds via a customizable shortcode
In the future, the Stellar Places development team plans to build extensions for the plugin that you can install to gain additional functionality.
An easy-to-use maps plugin that looks and feels like native WordPress is long overdue. I tested Stellar Places and found that it works as advertised. The process of adding new places is intuitive and maps can be tailored to your exact specifications with the many options available in the shortcode. If you’re looking to try a new Google Maps plugin for WordPress, download Stellar Places for free from WordPress.org.