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jueves, 7 de abril de 2011

Should we geocode everything? We think so

Of all the metadata available in modern apps, geolocation is by far the most successful. Today geotaging pictures or people are very common and widespread actions. Besides these, some management tools can geoposition specific individual items like business, land, meetings or trips.

In 4iKIM we believe that one of our strengths is to manage many different types of information in a unified way. In this line of work, if we introduce something new, we try to apply it to any available type. But in this case we had doubts. To what extent is it necessary or useful to geotag any type of item?
At first sight, it may seems unusefull to position a file or a text note on a map. However, we implemented the new functionality to the entire set of available types.

The result was interesting, and deserves some comments. First, automatic geocoding is a key feature. For example, each login in 4iKIM is automatically geotagged (either through data obtained by the GPS mobile devices, the wireless network or just by IP). Just by adding this auto location feature to users, 4iKIM could implement a simple yet powerfull fleet management application, fully integrated with the rest of the product.

Second experience with geolocation had to do with emails. We decided to geolocate incoming emails based on the outgoing server IP. The surprising result was that some users consult incoming mail from a map, to quickly locate emails from certain geographic areas in a tray saturated of items.

As a conclusion, in 4iKIM we think that anything should be able to be positioned on a map, preferably automatically. The different uses of it will come later, through users.

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