Geoconnect, not Geocode

It makes more sense to connect media to places than to a pair of numbers.

As GPS technology spread, geocoding became popular. The most common example is association of a photo with a pair of two numbers, latitude and longitude of a location where the photo was taken.

Just by looking at two numbers we are not able to say anything about the location. Connecting to a place makes more sense. A concept of a place though more human is much more ambiguous than geographical coordinates.

Here are a few examples how some Internet companies are solving these ambiguities.

Twitter has acquired GeoAPI and provides API for developers to give users an option to associate a tweet not only with coordinates, but with a place nearby. They also announced global partnership with TomTom and Localeze, from whom they will get locations data. They also automatically geoconnect tweets from Gowalla and Foursquare apps.

Flickr introduced Places that are associated with WOEID from GeoPlanet, open database of places supported by Yahoo (see London, for example). They went even further! And now Flickr supports machine tags related to ways and nodes from OpenStreetMap project (osm:node and osm:way), as well as Foursquare venues (foursquare:venue) and Gowalla spots (gowalla:spot)—see the official blog announcement.

Google introduced Google Places and announced Places API.

Open database of places is long overdue.

No, I do not think OpenStreetMap, Geonames or GeoPlanet are it.

This is an evolving note. Its goal is to systematize observations of how various Internet companies approach geoconnection of content. I am interested in geoconnection for some of my personal projects, for instance, Places in Videos, where moments in videos are connected to places that are shown at that particular moment.