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Old 07-17-2004   #1
sfk
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Anyone Using Geo-Tags?

Anyone aware - or using - geo-tags? See e.g. geo-tag now!

Seems to be a promising new dimension of the semantic web in many senses... would boost e.g. local search dramatically. How about "pizza restaurants 5 km around harbour of San Francisco" (which is more accurate than just california state)?

But when are Search Engines aware of such locational information? And do users deliver this data in html, pictures and blogs?

Last edited by sfk : 07-17-2004 at 08:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-03-2004   #2
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some more explanation...

Perhaps I should explain this a little bit more: The main goal is to realize a search machine extension which understands a query like "books Springfield" and the answer will be restricted to the location 'Springfield' (one can try this out in Google - but only for US and not so accurate as I wish).

The main question is, from where comes the geographic annotation (localisation) of a web page, like the book stores (or pizza services) in Springfield and how accurate and reliable is this?

There are about four apporaches: Geo-Tags, manual attribution/registration, IP adress lookup (whois) and semantic text and link analysis.

Naturally Geo-Tags are the most obvious solution, because the main information source should always be the author. Geo-Tags are now there. So my main concern is:

=> What is the outreach of this Geo-Tagging idea and how could one raise its awareness?

Last edited by sfk : 08-03-2004 at 08:47 AM. Reason: title added
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Old 08-03-2004   #3
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I'm very interested in geo-tagging, not really sure where to start - I have a few ideas - in no particular order and not overly thought out -

I suppose that the best thing that would raise awareness is to have some or a few sites ranked #1 in Google for the appropriate locally based keyword phrase with no explanation as to why except that it has been "geo-tagged". I think that would do it as far as awareness goes.

Part of what is happening is that everyone, everything and their dog will be GPS capable before long. The effect of this newly realized situation is that locally based information will become of increasing importance - probably we'll all have some sort of bot collecting info for us on a constant and continuous basis - I guess that there probably is no active need to try and promote geo-tagging and other such things because they are coming anyway, probably the best thing is to try and position oneself to take advantage of the opportunities that things like geo-tagging will create as they come into popular use.

I'm making a small and modest attempt at writing my own search engine so I suppose I might as well include geo-tagging. When I'm trying to understand something, at the moment I'm on a quest to understand search engines, I find that trying to duplicate a process in code helps me to see some things that I don't notice if I just think without coding - hence my search engine project, but I don't expect it to be of any use to people except me,as my learning platform. As it turns out my background is in the legal land surveying industry so geo-searching and geo-tags are very interesting subjects to me.

As I write this I'm thinking that the first question that needs to be answered is how will geo-tags eventually be spammed, used by unscrupulous purveyors of information to get high local rankings for the purposes of diverting me their way - on the web I can put up with unrelevant and/or misleading results but locally, I'm going to get upset if I find myself on the corner with the drug pusher, sex trade people instead of at the bookstore where I thought I was going.

I guess now I have to try and write a bot that spiders pages and only accepts ones with a geo-tag for inclusion in my database. I'll call it geo-bot or something so that webmasters will see it ....

I've read the articles on geo-tagging - I'll read them again and then see if I can think of anything useful one might do to promote this sort of thing but I think geo-based searching is more like a runaway train than something that needs encouragement to "flower". I do note that you said "raise awareness" and not promote and I do think that you are right that SEO's in general had ought to be aware of its "soon-comingness". I mostly deal with Flash and I believe even now Google doesn't list it as a filetype to filter the search yet you can search for "filetype:swf" and it works and swf files are being indexed on their own - who knows, maybe Google looks for geo-tags and just doesn't tell anyone.

Anyway, looking forward to your response.
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Old 08-03-2004   #4
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Implementing a web robot which crawls for geo-tags should not be so hard: "geotags.com > About" is such a bot. Our 'GeometaBot' is another one (experimental too); and if Google recognises Geo-Tags let me know...

Geo-Tagging seems to have some certain associated problems: a) Missing and b) Misleading geo-tags.

With this thread I originally just wanted to discuss the state and approaches in order to make geo-tagging more popular (case a)).

Now; for a solution of both missing and misleading geo-tags, it seems to me that this leads to an algorithm which takes the hard way: Analyse the page and even the site (text and link analysis): Ultimately, the above mentioned four approaches have to be combined in order to accomplish this.

Any ideas?
sfk

P.S. And again: The potential of geo-tagging gets higher and higher while discussing; see e.g. Thread on 'Block-level Link Analysis', Blogmapper or WiFiMaps and of course the GeoPriv Working Group at IETF.
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Old 08-04-2004   #5
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Link nature and ‘link cardinality’ of geo-tags

What is the link nature and ‘link cardinality’ of geo-tags in documents or internet resources (texts, maps, etc.)? See also this thread .

Geo-tags are pointers to geographical locations/places, not documents. As a consequence, these locations/places need to be somehow comparable and thus ‘harmonized’: Coordinates need common coordinate systems and geographic names need to be freely available (at least interrelated) in order to make systems interoperable. If they are not, imagine those places which are named different in different languages.

The link cardinality of geo-tags seems to have also (0..*)-to-(0..*) cardinality. Here the percentage that text documents are related to many places seems to me higher than the percentage of documents consisting of several semantically homogeneous blocks (as potential candidates for embedded anchors).

Another problem is standardization: There is a draft recommendation for geo-tags which are related to one single page (draft-daviel-html-geo-tag-06 http://geotags.com/geo/draft-daviel-...eo-tag-06.html). MapBureau http://www.mapbureau.com/geotagnow.html made a proposal embedded geo-tags in XHTML.

One should really make a recommendation out of this drafts and proposals.
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Old 08-04-2004   #6
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I know Gigablast supports "geo sensitive" tags.
http://www.gigablast.com/rants.html#geotags

heck, the engine will recognize any meta tag.
http://www.gigablast.com/rants.html#metas
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Old 08-04-2004   #7
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Geo mapping

I first heard of geo mapping from GeoUrl.org
when I first started blogging a year ago. People used it to find blogs close to them and some mapping systems used it to pin-point blogs. I used the following tags:

<meta name="icbm" content="33.786027, -84.351418">
geo.accuracy: 1
geo.city: atlanta
geo.country: us
geo.datum: nad83
geo.latitude: 33.786027
geo.longitude: -84.351418
geo.postal: 30306
geo.state: us13

This is the first I've seen those tags. I often wondered if this would be a way to help local search engines find you as well. I look forward to additional information.
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Old 08-04-2004   #8
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Geo Tag Conference paper

Folks, this might be of interest.

Here are materials from a presentation that was given at an IBM conference in Israel this past February. The same presentation was given about a week ago at the SIGIR conference. Those slides are not yet available.

It's right on topic.

Web-a-Where: Geotagging Web Content
By, Nadav Har'El and Ron Sivan, IBM Haifa Research Lab
http://www.research.ibm.com/haifa/Wo...minarFeb04.pdf


Btw: I just posted a link to some slides from a presentation by a Google researcher in the the Google forum.
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Old 08-05-2004   #9
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local.yahoo.com/ local.google.com/

The Yahoo and Google are testing local search. They do not seem to rely on geo tags.

Just released Yahoo Local Beta listings show a couple of sponsored results then the rest are all from their directoryso already organised by region for many sites.

Google local beta seems to favour other directories. Maybe for the same reason.

They all only appear to cover the USA as yet.

Try them out...for hotel Boston.
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Old 08-06-2004   #10
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One should standardize and promote geo-tags

jen: There is also another SE trying out local search "Ask Jeeves Goes Local, Adds New Smart Search Features".

garyp: Thanks for the reference to this presentation from IBM Haifa Research Lab people.

All this would be much easier when there geotags could be used!

Like NTR reported, there is a draft RFC proposal from IETF around. This work is still not finished yet although there remains not much to do like for example some questions of cardinality I mentioned above.

If we could get some comments from guys from Google, Yahoo!, AOL and MSN this would be of high interest to this matter an perhaps give a boost on finishing this proposal? Perhaps someone knows if some representatives of the big SEs are around?

Last edited by sfk : 08-08-2004 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 08-08-2004   #11
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geotargeting getting off

This topic is really getting off! After some internet search I found some remarkable additional links, mostly about the benefits of local ('geotargeted') business, sometimes also called 'regional ad targeting':

There was a conference in october 2003 devoted entirely to Digital Directories & Interactive Local Media. There, a panel stated that "Roughly 80% of small businesses report that the vast majority of their business activity occurs within a local radius of 50 miles. And up to 30% of online searches have a local modifier." Here an intro about "Local and Regional Search: A Primer".

And some days ago Chris Sherman from SEW reports that "Yahoo Targets Google, Yellow Pages with New Local Search" with some interesting statements, like "Yahoo estimates that 20-25% of all search queries have a local component, either stated explicitly (Home Depot; Washington acupuncturist) or implicitly (flowers, doctors)".

Furthermore, he reports from the SE users perspective "The interface of the new local search service (...) has two search forms. Enter what you're looking for in the first, and a street address, city, state or zip in the other." Then "The more specific your location, the more relevant your results will be when sorted by distance. By contrast, using more specific keywords may or may not improve the precision of your results."

And now this expensive report from June 2004 about "The Geo-Google Threat: Search Engines Target Local Advertising".

So, I only can agree with Chris that this "points to exciting times ahead". All this are supported by geo-tags and still there is no standard around.

I wish to get in contact with SE representatives in order to make a recommendation out of the IETF draft from daviel, assuming that the IETF is the right place to standardize this.

Last edited by sfk : 08-09-2004 at 01:28 PM. Reason: additions
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Old 08-10-2004   #12
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This is sort of interesting, it does offer some location examples.

http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/2004/02/xhtml-rdf
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Old 08-10-2004   #13
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Playing around with (the benefits) of geo-tags

Someone pointed me to Google and AltaVista test local search (September 23 2003). They report that "Unlike Gigablast, Google does not experiment with "geo-sensitive" metatags when determining the geographical focus of a web page.". And Altavista/Overture seem to take the same approach. I would say, that's the hard way which remains to be followed.

But what I can't understand is, why they obviously don't take the information if a geo-tag (including xhtml/rdf) is there? Validation has to be done anyway.

Mentioning Gigablast: As some of you noticed, geourl.org is down since a while. Now, because I could'nt wait longer, I tried out another experiment, thanks to garyp, testing Gigablasts capabilities which recognizes any meta tag.

So, let's compare the results between a usual search and a search with a geo-tag:
  1. "university phoenix"
  2. "university geo.placename: phoenix"
  3. (and what about an ad-hoc geographic query for fun like "All web documents pointing to lat=49/long=-123).

The first query a) gives 4,044,121 results and the second only about 184. So, this comparison is admittedly a bit unfair since not all web sites (yet?) contain geo-tags. But this gives us perhaps an idea, what the benefits of such geo-tags would be...

Last edited by sfk : 08-10-2004 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 08-11-2004   #14
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Again: yet another hot local service

Again, yet another 'geolocal' service: Local News from Phoenix - or wherever you are on the world... There is also some tech stuff explained there.

Now, although it does no geo-tagging of unrelated web documents, it shows some application of it, called geo-targeting or geolocalization.
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Old 12-01-2004   #15
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More on geographic tags...

I came across this company with a technology called Universal Spatial Locators or USL, when searching for "location intelligence". I was doing research for a client looking to add geographic search to their corporate portal. These folks seem to take the approach of assigning a unique key for every place that matters to a business, and replicating this key in databases records and as metadata in documents and web content, to enable geographic search. Cool if it works.

http://www.cquay.com/products_cg_technology.html

Last edited by Nacho : 12-01-2004 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Removed additional parameters not necessary on the link.
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Old 12-02-2004   #16
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Here's my FWIW 2c on it. Longer term, there needs to be some kind of industry standard on the geotags. In the short to medium term I am "sensing" that a company like Google will do what they have so often done: make use of the available information that is there. It may be that they are already intimating that any local businesses who are smart enough to use geotags and perhaps other interesting bits of metadata on their site might find themselves getting more/better exposure in the next couple generations of local search.

In recent conversation with Sukhinder Singh of Google I heard that the company is very concerned to figure out how richer data about local businesses could be accessed by a search tool. If there is no way of "enriching" the current local listings, then online local listings will not improve much over the previous generation of standard flat analog local listings. Obviously, some contextual info in the form of reviews, mapping, etc. can be added, but at some point, businesses will need to participate in providing more information themselves.

Here, the old problems can apply of course: what about geo-tag spam. The data need to be verifiable. Exact same problem with keyword metadata on the public Internet.

This topic seems to be of critical importance right now.
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Old 12-04-2004   #17
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> the short to medium term I am "sensing" that a company like Google will
> do what they have so often done: make use of the available information
> that is there.

I agree, that's what they are doing right now. I know from another Google clerk that they judge geo-tags as wishful thinking because - like meta-tags - users are lazy in doing such formal stuff right.

> Here, the old problems can apply of course: what about geo-tag spam. The
> data need to be verifiable. Exact same problem with keyword metadata on
> the public Internet.

Right, this is an issue. IMHO I would propose two actions against such spam:

1. Visible (meta) tags: The coordinates must be displayed to humans while still encoded as machine readable metadata. This uses the principle of "What you see is what you believe" (and realize), which is also applied by the big search engines.

2. Confirmed vicinity and social control: One has to indicate at least three neighbours. If everyone does this there are chances that outliers are detected.
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