Seeing data from a geographic perspective involves two steps:
- Geographic data management: the creation or sourcing, format conversion, cleaning and refining of spatial data such as area boundaries, their associated metadata and relationships, as well as the on-going management of the data
- Geocoding is the process of associating geographic coordinates (often expressed as latitude and longitude, or easting and northing) with other geographic data, such as street addresses, or postcodes.
Geocoding also captures the conversion of co-ordinates in other formats to latitude and longitude – examples include the conversion of MapInfo Tab and MIF files and ESRI shape files.
A string of latitudes and longitudes may constitute a boundary – a closed string is a polygon.
Freely available services are available which allow geocoding of limited to small datasets, although they still require a degree of technical knowledge and often have non-commercial restrictions.
We offer services both for geographic data management and geocoding. However, unlike most software purchases, we do not charge for geocoding or geographic data management when you buy G-View. When you upload data to G-View, our software usually recognises the geography fields and automatically geocodes it.
Making the most of geographic data
…once you’ve got this data together and fit for purpose.
To create a rich user experience you must have efficient ways of getting your geographic data onto your screen, together with the freedom to navigate and display it as you want to. Picking the right technology is vital. If your system only generates static images of maps, you won’t get the feedback and flexibility offered by a technology which is more interactive. This is because when you typically see a themed, coloured area on a Google Map you are looking at an image overlayed on the map. This image is literally a barrier between you and the map and any interactivity with the map is lost.
To create the powerful Google Map interaction you see in G-View, we don’t use image files. We load boundaries onto the map and theme the polygon.
Our software also creates systems for locating points within boundaries in a themed Google map and for locating adjacencies. This is important for the creation and management of (for example) sales territories.
There are many benefits associated with high levels of interactivity from a map. An example is PlaceALike for which the user can select an area or group of areas from a map and re-compute data from that selection.