Geotagging Web Pages and RSS Feeds
Now that your Web site has been geotagged, what can you do to share this information with users and have new users find your site? A2B is the new incarnation of the defunct geourl.com. A2B allows Web site administrators to register their sites. From there, users can search for sites based on location or geographic locality to another Web site. It may be interesting to find out what other sites and places can be found in your area.
A2B also provides a free public API that allows application and Web site developers to query the A2B database of locations. The A2B query does not return the actual location of the Web sites, however, merely their distances and directions (compass headings) from the queried location.
To find out the latitude and longitude or city and region of a Web site, the user can view the Web site's meta information. To illustrate this, we have written an extension to the Firefox browser that alerts users that geotags are available for the Web site currently being viewed. The extension also retrieves that information without the user having to look at the Web site's markup source. Download and install the extension to try it out for yourself.
Another index to check out is WorldPress. For RSS feeds, MapBureau and Michael Maron's WorldKit Mapper have on-line mapper applications that parse out the locations from your feed and display them on a map. It then is possible to embed a link to a map of your feed in your Web site.
Other applications of geotags include creating a Web page of closely related Web sites, similar to a Web ring, and display their locations on a map of the Earth or a specific region. A restaurant review Web page, for example, could display a map of their reviewing regions, and users could click on locations to read reviews of the restaurants located there. Furthermore, travelers could pull up Weblogs and travel information for the area they will be visiting. Hopefully, larger services similar to Google Local or Multimap will be developed that automatically will collect and use this information to provide users with a large database of services.
Geotags currently are not employed widely, and only a small number of services support their use. However, many could benefit from better geographic knowledge of Web sites and on-line data. Applications could provide a central location to assist users in finding out about their locations or intended travel locations. In order for this to occur, a better standardization of geospatial metadata must be created, utilized and supported by the Internet community. The W3C Semantic Web is such an effort to standardize the extension of Web data. Many groups across the globe are working together to create enhanced definitions (see Resources). Part of these efforts is defining a complete standard for geospatial tagging and for supporting other location-based services. With this work, the future of geotagging will provide better integration between the digital world and the physical world.