Monday, 10th January 2011
As someone who has spent over 15 years searching for information for clients there has always been the perennial problem of finding hyperlocal information. That is content for a defined community area, with a focus on that community area and its residents. I sometimes call it ‘gold dust’.
In many projects I have been involved in over the years I can usually find out what is happening globally, regionally and by country. But what is happening in my local area has on occasion brought me to tears.
Not even the rise in technological power via the Internet has made my life significantly better. On many occasions there has just been more dross to weed through. However geolocation tagging and Internet mapping has helped. Just try a simple Google search and see how some of your results have a decidedly local feel. Of course Google maps have been widely successful for large and small businesses alike.
New to me is ‘crowdsourcing’ maps. MapQuest (http://open.mapquest.com/) is digging deeper into their online maps now to be edited by the general public. This is an attempt at updating MapQuest’s US maps with the previously unlabelled destinations. Google likes to call them ‘citizen cartographers’ and they have the ability to draw and edit maps with their Google Mapmaker product (http://www.google.com/mapmaker).
MapQuest reports that people register to be map contributors to suggest and make changes. The maps are ‘updated every 15 minutes and directions to newly marked spots are available within 24 hours’. The community will be moderated and policed for ‘rogue editors’.
There is no doubt that all of us would like to see richer mapping details at hyperlocal level. The spin off applications would be very useful and indeed valuable in the marketplace.
Location is everything, and it is a constant irritation to most people searching for information that what is happening in your back yard is not so apparent. The continued development and growth in this technology will indeed be beneficial to all of us in the business world.
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