Us and Them

The main goal of our batch geocoding service is not just to provide map coordinates, but also give a quick platform for those wishing to instantly plot map data on the web without any coding. There are several other sites out there that try to do the same. Wayfaring, MapBuilder, Platial, and so on.

I don’t work in a vacuum, I keep an eye on the competition. I really like the interfaces out there. To a certain extent, they all provide unique features that my service does not. My goal with the batch geocoder was to focus on making a tool that is fast, easy, and lets people work with data they already have.

Sitting down and creating a map by hand using one of these other tools takes quite some time. You must add locations one by one on a map. My service dumps the user name and password concept and lets people create and save maps instantly with no barriers.

Can you edit points one by one and move them around by clicking on a map? No you can’t do that. But I question how many people will create useful maps by creating points one by one. There’s only so many jogging maps, or bike ride maps, or maps to grandma’s house before you begin to question the value. Remember its all about the data… and for data to be useful you need lots of it. That’s why standardizing on formats like tab delimited is a good idea.

The user can keep their data in a file or in a database on their system, instead of on a server somewhere. They can easily edit their data, add/remove columns, etc.. No fussing about with some proprietary interface for editing it online.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. If you have feedback please let me know. I am not opposed to the idea of building in some of the tools that the “other guys” offer, but I could spend time in other areas too.