Earlier this year I managed to do something new and different – for me, anyway.

I managed to set up a MySQL database with two tables; the first had the location and details on 2,500 mainland GB rail stations, the other had the patronage figures for each station. Using the three-letter code for each station as a unique identifier I was able to use a php script to get the information from the database and write a .kml file which I then uploaded to a server. I could then use a WordPress plugin or standalone script to read the .kml file and show all the stations on one map, with stations details and patronage figures contained within each station’s ‘bubble’.

Good, hey? Except it now no longer works.

Google’s done a thing – I still don’t know what – so that only some of the stations are displayed. There’s nothing wrong with the .kml file; I used an app on my iPad to read it and it works fine. Google Maps will only read the first 2,000 stations so that isn’t an option (plus it ignores what I do with the map pins). So a potentially useful map for work and industry colleagues is now pretty useless. Not to mention the work I put into it.

This is why I don’t like to rely on Google, Apple or anyone else with ‘my’ data or services – you never know what they’re going to change that will bollocks things up for you. And it means I have to waste time investigating new solutions.