Customizing Search for Special-Interest Maps

Room: GHS

Sunday, 12:00


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  • Sarah Hoffmann

No map comes without a facility to search for places. As a result quite a few open-source geocoders using OpenStreetMap data have been developed and have matured in the last years. Nominatim, Pelias, Photon, Carmen, there are many to choose from. They all have in common that they offer a general purpose search for addresses, places and, to a more limited extent, places of interest.

OpenStreetMap has inspired the creation of many domain-specific maps. Be it maps for specific features like brew pubs, camping or power infrastructure or for activities like cycling, hiking or child entertainment. A general purpose search on these maps is often not satisfying. The special features might simply not be available in the generic geocoders. And when they exist, they do not get the prominence appropriate for the map.

This talk explores ways to improve the search experience for such special-interest maps. We start with simple approaches to boost results using existing web APIs and then look into different ways for creating a small custom domain-specific search engine. We discuss advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches and show common pitfalls for implementations. Although some knowledge in system administration and programming is expected, the focus is on solutions for small and medium projects that are realized with limited resources.