Understanding spatial search
November 4, 2008
So what is spatial search ?
In today’s context, where the Internet is the starting point for finding any information you need about anything in the world, and of course most of us use Google. The problem with traditional search is that it does not support or have information about the geographical dimension.
Why is spatial search important ?
This becomes extremely important when searching for something like “Guest houses in Bangalore”. Although the geographical location, in this case ‘Bangalore’ can be used as a part of search query term, the search engine does not interpret it as a geographical location.
So results for the search query – “Guest houses in Bangalore” will turn up documents with “Guest houses” and “Bangalore” and might not show up results with guest houses koramangala or indiranagar which are localities in Bangalore and also hence very apt results. This is because, the search engine does not have a relationship between these terms.
The other issue with traditional search in entities like homes is that the geographical information of these locations are not known, and hence they cannot be visualized on a map – which would be the most intuitive way to visualize these results.
While planning and architecting my100floors, we understood the need for Spatial search and helping users visualize home searches on maps. Moreover we felt that that searching for properties on maps was the intuitive way to find properties. In fact, we are the first to provide a map based search in India, cracking the problem of non-availability of geo-coded data.
The next post will talk about our implementation of Spatial search in, challenges we faced and a walk through of the user experience.
Filed in Cool stuff, cool technology, design, geeky, Ideas!, product management, Requirements gathering, Rich Internet Applications, Search engines, Social Tech, Startup, Technology for real life, Usability, User Experience, User Interface, Web 2.0
Tags: product management, product strategy, Startup