scoast at microsoft.com
Thu Feb 16 15:23:13 PST 2012
I figured this is a good group to give a peek at something I worked on last month:
The premise is that a typical geocoder uses a large chunk of code to import a large database in to a large geocodable database. Then another large chunk of code is used to actually take a string and geocode it against this large imported dataset. At the end of all of this all you're typically doing is showing some bbox for some string like "London" which the user typed in.
What if we did away with all that?
Therefore opengeocoder is a simple list of strings and matching bounding boxes. It has a trivial interface to let you add or fix existing geocodes. It has an API on the side to provide results to 3rd party sites. If it is unable to help you with a query then that string is saved and available for anyone to later fix.
The major differentiators against other sites are that the IP licensing is clear, all bboxes are derived from imagery we have rights to, the bbox & string data is put in the Public Domain. It's trivial to use. The API saves misses for later fixing. It's hard to find a site that does 2 or 3 of those.
Assuming this is interesting, there are multiple possible future directions. Bootstrap with some PD data, allow points as well as boxes, allow more complex polygons, a stronger API than just a JSON endpoint.
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