Archive for July, 2007

8 out of 10 Travelling Salesmen use this map…

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

.. or should.

I just stumbled* across this rather neat Google Map “Mashup”: Optimap, it attempts to solve the classic ‘Travelling Salesman’ problem, that is find the shortest route to take in an arbitrary list of locations, reordering the locations as appropriate. Doing this manually is tedious at best, but you can miss some useful shortcuts, it’s also no easy task for a computer to solve, but with some clever maths (more on the authors blog!), its possible for a computer to have a good stab at it.

Anyway try it out:Optimap

Only thing missing is import/export functions :) – wonder in fact if the author could push to get this integrated into the real Google Maps engine, that would be so cool!

(* actually I read about it in the Google Maps API group)

The State of the Map…

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Over the weekend I attended OpenStreetMap‘s first conference “State of the Map“, all in all a very enjoyable time, great to to listen to all the talks, and also chat with various mappers, meet up with various people I’ve only met before in cyberspace.

Hopefully it will inspire me to actually contribute, esp as frequent two ‘holes’ in the current data…

An interesting little snippet from Ed Parsons talk, is this slide, which shows KML/GeoRSS publishing as indexed by Google, somehow I think I reconsise the British Isles hotspot; geograph, which publishes many KML feeds, (about 600k (the Superlayer, and also a file per photo), of which about 300k are reported to be indexed in Google’s main index, so show up well in ‘User Generated Content‘ in Google Maps!)

Everyone (nearly) – me third from left

Google will Geocode UK addresses and postcodes!

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Something we wondered if we would ever see, but it seems the Google Maps API geocoder will now Geocode UK Addresses and Postcodes (see update below). This is quite big news on many fronts, as traditionally UK geocoding is expensive, or where providers do geocoding its with restictions on use of the data commercially. But the API geocoder positivly encourages caching the geocodes for your locations (POIs), and in with particular Postcodes this has been a big no no. Can’t see any change in ToU’s in light of this, but we will see.

Has Google taken over the Royal Mail too now?

(the official announcement)

Update Nov ’07: … well it seems the postcodes was only a dream, and have now been withdrawn! Time will tell if this can be rectified. Ho hum…

Update Dec ’07: … the ToU have now been updated to clarify that the (http) geocoder is for the express use of ‘pre-caching’ geocodes for use on a Google Maps API map. (I’ve also clarified the above paragraph in regards to this). This also prevents some interesting uses, eg store locators that work before a map is shown (but an intereactive one with a map should be fine), which is a shame.

what I am reading…

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

… I’m a lazy blogger, I don’t bother posting things I find, as I naively think people everybody will have already read it.

I’ve also just started using Google Reader in a bigger way, and as such as a small experiment will start sharing items I think are relevent to this blog, get the feed here:

(its via feedburner to make a nicer url, as well as to get some stats to see if it worth me doing this…)