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Search Across Many Data Sources From A Single Interface

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Tuesday, May 7th 2013
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Summary:

Cloudmade explores how the CloudMade On-Dash and In-Dash platforms use the Hybrid and Mapsafe technologies to let users search through point of interest data from many different providers and see the results represented as a single item.  

In this post we look at how CloudMade’s On-Dash and In-Dash platforms use our Hybrid and Mapsafe technologies to let users search through point of interest data from many different providers and see the results represented as a single item.  For some real-world examples of this in action, check out Magellan’s SmartGPS product that lets users search through Yelp, Foursquare and TomTom data from a single interface.

Global Search

Users want access to a rich world of location information from a single search interface.  After all, Google lets us search the entire content of the web from a single interface, so why should we need to go into separate ”apps” when searching for a place to stop for lunch?

When the user searches for “Pizza”, search results are shown, sorted by distance, from different providers on a single screen.  In this example you can see results that appear both in Yelp and Foursquare, results that only appear in Yelp and results that only appear in TomTom data – indicated by the icons at the far right of each returned result.

CloudMade’s Mapsafe technology provides social context to search results, in this case associating each place with check-ins, reviews and posts made by the user’s friends on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Disambiguated Results

The next screens show how the user is able to view the details associated with the results.  Different data providers have different attributes and strengths.  Yelp for example includes a 1-5 star rating, Foursquare data is typically updated the most frequently, Tom-Tom often has the most accurate positional data.

CloudMade’s Hybrid technology handles a process of disambiguation which takes unique results from three (or more) datasets, for example a pizza place in Yelp, Foursquare and TeleAtlas and understands through a process of fuzzy matching that the three separate entities in-fact refer to the same real-world location and presents a single, disambiguated result to the user.  This gives you the best of all worlds: the user gets the latest, richest information from sources like Yelp and Foursquare whilst you can rely on the positional accuracy of a provider like TeleAtlas.

A note on merging and disambiguation – at no point does CloudMade’s platform merge results together.  The different databases (Yelp, Foursquare and TomTom in this case) are kept as separate databases with the user being able to search from a single interface, see all results on a single page and quickly filter through different providers.

Live Results

Where devices have an internet connection, through a Bluetooth tether for example, live results from an online search provider like Google Places can be fed into the search results.

Discussion

The capabilities of CloudMade’s On-Dash and In-Dash platforms to handle large volumes of rapidly changing geo-data from a vast number of different sources and make the geo-data available to OEMs through a set of cross platform APIs opens up a new range of use cases and possibilities for device OEMs to create vibrant, exciting search experiences.  Some of the new possibilities include:

  • Global search across a huge number of different datasets
  • Including photos of locations, products, menus in search results
  • Including user generated reviews and ratings in search results
  • Integrating sources from small, niche providers that may cover one vertical in particular metros but not offer full regional coverage
  • Integrating sources that may lack accurate positional data

Contact CloudMade to learn more about the capabilities of our On-Dash and In-Dash platforms.

Reprinted, with permission, from the CloudMade Blog.

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