Mapcodes: launching my new website

What do you think about mapcodes after visiting overhere.co.za?

  • I'm already using mapcodes

  • I'm interested, I'm going to start using mapcodes immediately

  • I'm not sure, still making up my mind about it

  • I'd rather use what3words

  • I'd rather use Google Plus Codes

  • I'd rather use a different short-code system (please share)

  • I'm still confused about what mapcodes are


Results are only viewable after voting.

Foxhound5366

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#21
I've tried the mobile website. Don't think I will find a use for it at the moment. Most people with a smartphone have access to Google Maps. Google has a feature 'location sharing' that will send your current location straight to a friend and they can just open it on their phone. They don't need to memorise anything but just click the link. You can also use short codes (plus codes) with Google maps. Don't need a long address or coordinates, just give someone the plus code, specially in a rural areas with no landmarks or street addresses.

I think Google Maps does everything your website does, plus much more and user friendly. For example, type this into Google Maps:

HCMV+F8

It will take you to a spot next to a river in a Game Reserve.
Thanks for the input RedViking, but Google Maps doesn't do everything my website does ... you're talking about Google Plus Codes, which I already refer to in my website's About section FAQ and the poll here for a reason. Yes they're shortcodes, but they're proprietary and the conversion is done on Google's side. Unlike Mapcodes, which are in the public domain, and the libraries which do the conversions into and back from mapcodes are freely available for download and integration into any software (whereas Google Maps charges for access to their API). Also, if Google ends up going bankrupt in 1 million years (eventually), Google Plus codes will disappear. You can download the Mapcode converters now and they'll still work in 1 million years, and (critically) they can work offline (if you create a mobile application with the libraries built in).

I agree that Google location links are very useful ... hell, my own website actually generates Google Maps links that people can copy and paste to share with others, after conversion from a mapcode. The difference lies in the long-term accessibility and shareability of those. Who stores Google location links on WhatsApp? When you need it, will you be able to find the URL pin that somebody sent you via WhatsApp? And what if you're a dispatcher, receiving 1 000 location pins and having to share them with a team of drivers ... will you get confused, which one goes to which driver? Writing down mapcodes somewhere contains the same level of accuracy, but it becomes easier to interact with and store long-term. A dispatcher could just assign locations to drivers and each location's address is only a mapcode instead of a physical address. Just imagine the savings on ink :D
 

RedViking

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 23, 2012
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14,172
#22
Thanks for the input RedViking, but Google Maps doesn't do everything my website does ... you're talking about Google Plus Codes, which I already refer to in my website's About section FAQ and the poll here for a reason. Yes they're shortcodes, but they're proprietary and the conversion is done on Google's side. Unlike Mapcodes, which are in the public domain, and the libraries which do the conversions into and back from mapcodes are freely available for download and integration into any software (whereas Google Maps charges for access to their API). Also, if Google ends up going bankrupt in 1 million years (eventually), Google Plus codes will disappear. You can download the Mapcode converters now and they'll still work in 1 million years, and (critically) they can work offline (if you create a mobile application with the libraries built in).

I agree that Google location links are very useful ... hell, my own website actually generates Google Maps links that people can copy and paste to share with others, after conversion from a mapcode. The difference lies in the long-term accessibility and shareability of those. Who stores Google location links on WhatsApp? When you need it, will you be able to find the URL pin that somebody sent you via WhatsApp? And what if you're a dispatcher, receiving 1 000 location pins and having to share them with a team of drivers ... will you get confused, which one goes to which driver? Writing down mapcodes somewhere contains the same level of accuracy, but it becomes easier to interact with and store long-term. A dispatcher could just assign locations to drivers and each location's address is only a mapcode instead of a physical address. Just imagine the savings on ink :D
Ah damn, I missed the poll and see you do mention that.
 

Foxhound5366

Executive Member
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#23
Ah damn, I missed the poll and see you do mention that.
There's a reason this page exists on Wikipedia, RedViking: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Discontinued_Google_services

47 discontinued services ... and that doesn't even list some of the latest services I've heard are also being discontinued (e.g. Google Duo).

There's also a reason Google doesn't support mapcodes natively, despite them being free: Google wants to promote Plus Codes instead (now anyway). If they decide in a year that they're not making enough money from Plus Codes, that system could go the way of the other 47 discontinued services there.

I think Google does amazing work on the data and innovation side, but addresses need to be permanent and free of government or commercial interference. Mapcodes are, which is why I'd rather place the smart money on an integration between them and Google (like I've done). No need to throw the baby out with the bath water :)
 

UrBaN963

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Jul 27, 2016
Messages
8,455
#24
How difficult would this be to integrate into Waze/Google Maps/ Apple Maps?

The idea is sound and there are definitely use cases where it would be useful.

That said, having to visit a website to translate an address into a code which I then cannot punch into a GPS is like a trip to 1999. A mobile app is one way to get about that, but that is then an additional navigational tool. Integration into existing platforms would be ideal.
 

RedViking

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14,172
#25
There's a reason this page exists on Wikipedia, RedViking: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Discontinued_Google_services

47 discontinued services ... and that doesn't even list some of the latest services I've heard are also being discontinued (e.g. Google Duo).

There's also a reason Google doesn't support mapcodes natively, despite them being free: Google wants to promote Plus Codes instead (now anyway). If they decide in a year that they're not making enough money from Plus Codes, that system could go the way of the other 47 discontinued services there.

I think Google does amazing work on the data and innovation side, but addresses need to be permanent and free of government or commercial interference. Mapcodes are, which is why I'd rather place the smart money on an integration between them and Google (like I've done). No need to throw the baby out with the bath water :)
I understand what you say about mapcodes that it will never expire. It might then have a use for storing coordinates, like where DB Cooper stashed his money or my secret surfing spot.... But for that I'll just write down the coordinates. Anyways, I can see how some might find a use for it.. Too bad the big boss doesn't make allowance for it to be implemented in their software.
 

CT_Biker

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Sep 10, 2016
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#26
Kinda wish this integrated with Waze.

This will come in handy - I am using this as of today. It is actually straightforward.
 

CT_Biker

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#27
There is something all of you failed to mention.

Your devices' GPS accuracy, internet connection speed, and latency. Which causes location accuracy to distort, both yours and destination location if you use street names or more generalized search data, or Google
 

Foxhound5366

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#28
How difficult would this be to integrate into Waze/Google Maps/ Apple Maps?

The idea is sound and there are definitely use cases where it would be useful.

That said, having to visit a website to translate an address into a code which I then cannot punch into a GPS is like a trip to 1999. A mobile app is one way to get about that, but that is then an additional navigational tool. Integration into existing platforms would be ideal.
Check it out Bunny, I've already done that. Input any of the example mapcodes on the first page into the "Get directions to a Mapcode" option on the "Use a mapcode" page, and you'll see Google Maps integration is the very first thing that pops up. It works like a charm on your phone ... you click on the URL and Google Maps' app opens immediately and populated with the direction. Hit go and voila, you're on your way.
 

Foxhound5366

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#30
Kinda wish this integrated with Waze.

This will come in handy - I am using this as of today. It is actually straightforward.
Wow, good news ... I just investigated this quickly, and I reckon I can get it integrated easily ... tonight even, if I find a gap :) Just for you, Mr CT_Biker, just for you.
 

CT_Biker

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#31
Wow, good news ... I just investigated this quickly, and I reckon I can get it integrated easily ... tonight even, if I find a gap :) Just for you, Mr CT_Biker, just for you.
Honestly that would be really cool, thanks for having a look into it.
 

Foxhound5366

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#32
There is something all of you failed to mention.

Your devices' GPS accuracy, internet connection speed, and latency. Which causes location accuracy to distort, both yours and destination location if you use street names or more generalized search data, or Google
Hey, I agree that device GPS accuracy can be off (I noticed some jumps of around 100m on my phone when GPS signal got obscured), which is why my website offers two levels of verification for every mapcode generated: first it does a reverse search on the mapcode and calculates how far the lat-lon that the mapcode decodes to is from your desired GPS coordinates that you selected via the map marker (this is just to reassure people of the accuracy of mapcodes) ... and secondly (even if you are auto-detecting your position using the website's "find my location" button) it shows you the marker point on the map so that you can confirm visually that it is exactly where you need it to be.

Because mapcode generation and conversion can work completely offline, a future development could well include a mobile application ... only I'm not an Android developer so that'd be a monster project.
 
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Foxhound5366

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#34

_kabal_

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#35
I have no skin in this game, but to me plus codes have the advantage that they dont need a data file.

as long as you have the algorithm, you can turn GPS -> plus codes -> GPS
 

Foxhound5366

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#36
I have no skin in this game, but to me plus codes have the advantage that they dont need a data file.

as long as you have the algorithm, you can turn GPS -> plus codes -> GPS
*shrugs* We'll see. The Mapcodes "data file" isn't that scary ... the PHP library I'm using has coordinates, country names and a file with functions to encode and decode and do all kinds of other magic stuff I haven't even started working with. Now I've got a platform to play with, I'm gonna keep experimenting and trying to integrate things. You might find that different technologies are better for different use cases, but it comes with actually using them.
 

Foxhound5366

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#37
Honestly that would be really cool, thanks for having a look into it.
Done already :) I integrated it into 'Show on a map' and 'Get directions to a mapcode' (IF you don't enter an origin - keep the origin box blank). Unfortunately Waze deep links don't support origins and destinations, just a lat-lon destination ... but yeah, it works for you :) Clicking on the Waze link will open up the Waze app on your phone and launch navigation directly.
 

Foxhound5366

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#38
Hey errybody, so I thought I'd share that I've added some new functionality to www.overhere.co.za for your viewing pleasure :)

1: 'Get a mapcode' page -> using the map
I've removed the auto-centering of the marker on zooming the map, because although on the one hand it helps the marker 'follow' you as you zoom into a location, it also ensures that you keep losing your position once you get to a general area and then zoom in for a better view (and your marker shifts automatically). I replaced this with a new 'marker' overlay button on the right-edge of the map: if you click on this, it immediately centers the marker in your screen, and you can drag and refine it as required without any further re-centering you don't want. Finally I added in the 'high-precision' stipulation for the "Find my location" geolocation button, just to ensure the browser always delivers the most accurate location.

2: 'Get a mapcode' page -> generating a mapcode
Underneath the mapcode that is generated, I've added a textbox that is populated with a unique URL for that mapcode that people can share. I also dynamically update the URL on the 'Use a mapcode' button that appears at the bottom of this page (which previously just took you to the 'Use a mapcode' page) and add the mapcode as variables to the URL.

3: 'Use a mapcode' page -> arriving on the page
If you arrive on the 'Use a mapcode' page from a personalised link with a mapcode pre-populated, this is then inserted into a bar at the top of the screen; the mapcode entry fields are pre-populated with this mapcode for you; and the 'show on map' function is run on that mapcode immediately. Makes it a little more convenient :)

I know there's still a LOT to do (especially in terms of site differentiation), but the above are all 'bread and butter' basics that I think improve the overall experience. Any thoughts?
 

Foxhound5366

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#39
Ok, so here's more update news. Check out this page from your phone while walking around outside and let me know how it works for you: https://www.overhere.co.za/live/

The 'Record this position' button is where the real magic is :)

Now you can walk around a complex path and end up with a breadcrumb trail of labelled mapcodes.

As a later goal I'll end up ingesting those mapcodes back onto a map for display, but for now it's pretty helpful already (e.g. if you want to walk around the perimeter of a building and record mapcodes for every individual entrance at a shopping mall).
 
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