Why is this site file centric intead of POI data centric?

 

I'm new to POI Factory and something struck me about this site right away that, for right now, I see as a serious design flaw. All of the POI data on this site seems to be contained in files and separated out manually. Why is this site not centric around the POI data itself? I see a post for Rest Areas "Combined" and I see posts for Rest Areas broken out by state, some files for Interstates and some for non-Interstate. This is all unnecessary labor by members shuffling this data around to different files and posts if the site just stored all of the POIs in a database and then users can set whatever kind of filtering they want (i.e. "On Interstate", "Rest Area", etc.) for the site to kick out a custom file of POI data, be it CSV, GPX, KML, etc. on the fly. Let a database server do all of this work. smile

Since I'm a newbie here, tell me I'm missing something and that the way it is now is better somehow.

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Good Idea

Initially, it would take a lot of work, but I agree that it would be nice if it worked like that. If I understand correctly, it would be similar to a site like Autotrader.com (for example) where you can set all sorts of filters and show only a certain make, model, etc.. In this case, there would probably be filters for state, city, category, subcategory and so on.

The biggest problem I foresee is ensuring data is 100% correct. If just a couple things are wrong, a POI file could be generated that is far from what the user wanted.

keep it like it is i like

keep it like it is i like to combine the files i want and not have something that is chosen for me.

I agree

camping rivopom wrote:

keep it like it is i like to combine the files i want and not have something that is chosen for me.

I agree - I too like the ability of choice. The current arrangement is like any shareware DL site in that the user can choose among the selection of offerings the files that best suite their particular needs.

--
JRoz -- DriveSmart 55 & Traffic

Um...

camping rivopom wrote:

keep it like it is i like to combine the files i want and not have something that is chosen for me.

Nothing would be chosen for you. You would select all the POI's you want, click 'OK/Generate', and you would get one file to upload to your GPS unit. Simple as that.

jrozsnaki wrote:

I agree - I too like the ability of choice. The current arrangement is like any shareware DL site in that the user can choose among the selection of offerings the files that best suite their particular needs.

Once again, you would still be able to choose exactly what POI's you want, the data would simply be organized better.

Why carry

Why carry the overhead on your computer, if you want walmart you take Walmart, or cruise ship docks.

As far as file centric data goes, the built in poi files in our GPSr's are a prime example, it tries to be every thing for every one and is very inaccurate, some locations obsoleted by years. The POI data is compiled by the mapping companies and are on the back burner to keeping maps up to date.

POI data centric data found here on the POI-Factory allows collaborating community members to maintain and add to each as needed. when you go to download each file you will see the last time the file had maintenance. The enforcement Camera's are very similar in make up, that data for them is actually confirmed by Latitude and Longitude plus their direction then reported to Miss POI our moderator to be compiled and formatted.

As you spend more time here you begin to get a better handle on why it's done this way.

--
Using Android Based GPS.The above post and my sig reflects my own opinions, expressed for the purpose of informing or inspiring, not commanding. Naturally, you are free to reject or embrace whatever you read.

file system

I think the site is great. I certainly see the point however I understand that the time commitment to change it may be huge. There is always a better way however sometimes. If ain't broke..... applies

--
Garmin 765T, Garmin C340, Garmin 265WT, Garmin C550

Well said BobDee

The members maintain and add to each as needed. Updates are worked on by the members daily and that way the POI is the best it can be. Also, we enjoy what we do. grin

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

One more thing

There is a menu option that you can use once you start downloading files. You can find it on the right side under your name:
My Favorite Files
That will show the POI files you download and if there is a update marking it with a new flag.
Thus making real easy for you.

--
Using Android Based GPS.The above post and my sig reflects my own opinions, expressed for the purpose of informing or inspiring, not commanding. Naturally, you are free to reject or embrace whatever you read.

.

clmathes wrote:

...and you would get one file to upload to your GPS unit. Simple as that.

I don't want, or need, one 'big' file. I prefer to keep my various POI's separate. They're far easier to manage that way, and if I eliminate one via the POI Loader, then it's the only one that affected.

Not only that, but if I want BBQ, I don't want to have to sort through 100's of listings to find the closest to me.

--
nüvi 3790T | nüvi 775T | Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable ~ JFK

Okay...

In case no one has noticed, a lot of the data has already been put into some kind of database on this site. Just go to a POI file that you maintain and click on "search / add / edit" - what do you see? Hey, that looks like POI data. So, categorize/organize the data a little better to work with filters, create a tool (yes, I know, easier said than done) that would pull individual parts of a POI and/or the entire contents of a particular POI.

Obviously, this could get very complicated, but if there were a form to fill in the data (much like the Extra POI Editor) with required fields, it should stay well organized. Each POI contributor would still be responsible for maintaining their POI submissions, so it wouldn't become an overwhelming process for just one person.

I'm not saying this should be done, I just think it is a good idea that would work great (in theory, of course). I realize it would require a huge amount of effort initially and probably more effort overall to maintain this type of system, but it might make some things easier, also. For example, downloading a POI file containing all the Italian restaurants in your state, or wherever, without having to find and download 15 different files. Instead, it could all be done with a few clicks.

You can do that now

clmathes wrote:

In case no one has noticed, a lot of the data has already been put into some kind of database on this site. Just go to a POI file that you maintain and click on "search / add / edit" - what do you see? Hey, that looks like POI data. So, categorize/organize the data a little better to work with filters, create a tool (yes, I know, easier said than done) that would pull individual parts of a POI and/or the entire contents of a particular POI.

Obviously, this could get very complicated, but if there were a form to fill in the data (much like the Extra POI Editor) with required fields, it should stay well organized. Each POI contributor would still be responsible for maintaining their POI submissions, so it wouldn't become an overwhelming process for just one person.

I'm not saying this should be done, I just think it is a good idea that would work great (in theory, of course). I realize it would require a huge amount of effort initially and probably more effort overall to maintain this type of system, but it might make some things easier, also. For example, downloading a POI file containing all the Italian restaurants in your state, or wherever, without having to find and download 15 different files. Instead, it could all be done with a few clicks.

You can do that now, just download the files to your computer, and then sort them in excel and save them any way you like!
That's what is nice about separate files you get what you actually need and manipulate the data how you want it or delete entries on the fly.

--
Using Android Based GPS.The above post and my sig reflects my own opinions, expressed for the purpose of informing or inspiring, not commanding. Naturally, you are free to reject or embrace whatever you read.

Simplicity

The current structure is simple to implement and maintain. As BobDee notes, files can be downloaded and manipulated using tools that most of us have (Excel, Notepad, etc.). No need to deal with a database structure and filters that have to be developed and maintained. The focus can be on maintaining the POI data.

I agree, it is not ideal for the person that wants to download all the possible POIs between point A and B while planning a trip.

Well...

This is going nowhere. I'm going to finish watching the U.S. beat Canada.

My 2 cents.......

schlammbad wrote:

Since I'm a newbie here, tell me I'm missing something and that the way it is now is better somehow.

Spoken like a true IT geek !! cool

1) It's a "lowest common denominator" thing and what you propose, even if designed perfectly, would likely be too daunting for a fair percentage of the potential users. Many have trouble just getting a single file loaded.
2) And most importantly, it would take a substantial investment of time and money to make that big a change happen. It has been discussed in the past and I don't think the present owners are likely to be in a position to actually make that happen.......but they can speak for themselves on that.

Maybe someone else (you?) could volunteer to make it happen ??

(Now to actually read the other replies and see how far off I am !!) wink

--
Magellan Maestro 4250// MIO C310X

Only One Problem

In some of the larger files there are no city or states just company name and lat/lot. (mcdonalds, burgerking.)

--
johnm405 660 & MSS&T

KISS Principle

Bstpm wrote:

The current structure is simple to implement and maintain. As BobDee notes, files can be downloaded and manipulated using tools that most of us have (Excel, Notepad, etc.). No need to deal with a database structure and filters that have to be developed and maintained. The focus can be on maintaining the POI data.

I agree, it is not ideal for the person that wants to download all the possible POIs between point A and B while planning a trip.

I don't believe the owners of this site are making tons of money for doing this or have the time to do what you are talking about. That is a lot of work. I like the idea of keeping it simple. I wanted everything about Alaska from this site. I did a search, got every POI that had Alaska stuff in it, sorted it using excel and voila, I have a great POI file for me that I have continued to add stuff to.

--
Larry - Nuvi 680, Nuvi 1690, Nuvi 2797LMT

McDonald's has addresses

johnm405 wrote:

In some of the larger files there are no city or states just company name and lat/lot. (mcdonalds, burgerking.)

The McDonald's I downloaded has addresses, cities and states.

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

McDonald's has addresses

mgarledge wrote:
johnm405 wrote:

In some of the larger files there are no city or states just company name and lat/lot. (mcdonalds, burgerking.)

The McDonald's I downloaded has addresses, cities and states.

I was only using mcd and and example not implying that to the file. I have just seen a number of poi's that don't have that info and it makes it hard to sort them in excel.

--
johnm405 660 & MSS&T

Had just worked

I just pulled the McDonald's for New York out of the USA file and that is why I knew there was addresses.
I do know some people don't bother with addresses and States thinking they arn't needed but I just download these files see if they are what I need and if so, I just add the addresses to the ones I need.

I do love this site and hope it stayes the way it is now. It is just what I want and I think what most of the people on here want.

Have a nice week.

EDIT: Also, this site is more than POIs. It is people helping people.

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

Database?

Where I work we have a lot of databases. They are nice - if one is familiar with using the interface.

The problems users can cause is unbelievable. And the more bells and whistles that are added, the more complex it becomes, so the chances are greater that something will go wrong.

It would have to be very simple and VERY user friendly. This site gets a lot of folks that are new to the GPS world and even new to computers and the internet. So throwing something at them that would take 20 or so pages of instructions would certainly be a turn off.

Instructions on how to edit a text file are simple and easy (spreadsheets are optional) and I think it should stay that way.

Besides, if you were downloading a huge file from a DB and the DB went belly-up at 1 AM, who is going to fix it? There is no IT staff available 24/7, so it's wait till someone can get to it.

Let's keep it simple, so all levels of users have access to the POIs.

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

Thanks

grin

metricman wrote:

Let's keep it simple, so all levels of users have access to the POIs.

Just what I would have said if I could have thought of it. It's simple now and that makes it easy!!! grin

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

Something else

I forgot - this would also mean that ALL the data inputted would have to be in a specific format, with absolutely no errors (typo or otherwise, such as an illegal character). This will mean more work for the data gathers (we, the members)

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

My problem is that with the

My problem is that with the plethora of POI files available it is hard to figure out which ones I might be interested in. I've simply been looking at the "top 40" list, but haven't gone through all of them to see if one jumps out at me...

A Tech Guy's take on this.

schlammbad wrote:

I'm new to POI Factory and something struck me about this site right away that, for right now, I see as a serious design flaw. All of the POI data on this site seems to be contained in files and separated out manually. Why is this site not centric around the POI data itself? I see a post for Rest Areas "Combined" and I see posts for Rest Areas broken out by state, some files for Interstates and some for non-Interstate. This is all unnecessary labor by members shuffling this data around to different files and posts if the site just stored all of the POIs in a database and then users can set whatever kind of filtering they want (i.e. "On Interstate", "Rest Area", etc.) for the site to kick out a custom file of POI data, be it CSV, GPX, KML, etc. on the fly. Let a database server do all of this work. smile

Since I'm a newbie here, tell me I'm missing something and that the way it is now is better somehow.

Schlammbad,
Based on your question, I do not think you have a background in data processing. If I am wrong, then we need to hear more of your design ideas. What you have suggested sounds simple, but it far from it.

You speak of filters and give the examples of "on interstate, rest areas". I would like for you go to the alphabetic listing of the POIs and start a list for yourself of possible filters and sub-filters that would be required to get to something. Then, consider what would happen if someone came up with another desirable filter that was not thought of initially. As an example I will use "24 hour". parents leaving an emergency room at 2 in the morning with a sick child would like to know where the nearest 24 hour pharmacy was. Suppose this was not in the original design. It is a sound and desirable addition. How do you implement it?

Think of another issue. If you select by state on certain POIs, then you would not get some that are right over the state line and might be closer to you than those in the state selected.

I am sure you will get to like this site. Just watch the new POIs being added and see if you would have thought of them. Most you will not want, but take the time to see if you can imagine how certain specific people would. That is the beauty of this site and its design.

User Error/Vandalism

Not to mention that when the data is segregated in files, it stays separate; if there's a problem with a file, it's an issue only if you downloaded that particular file, and it can be yanked by the admins pretty readily.

But if you have uncertified, untrained users directly inputting data into one huge database, not only does it have to be consistent and pristine as noted above (fat chance), but someone malicious could insert all kinds of bad data that affects any user filtering any number of ways.

It's just not worth the headaches. Simplicity is valuable.

Have to agree with you

gardibolt wrote:

Not to mention that when the data is segregated in files, it stays separate; if there's a problem with a file, it's an issue only if you downloaded that particular file, and it can be yanked by the admins pretty readily.

But if you have uncertified, untrained users directly inputting data into one huge database, not only does it have to be consistent and pristine as noted above (fat chance), but someone malicious could insert all kinds of bad data that affects any user filtering any number of ways.

It's just not worth the headaches. Simplicity is valuable.

I'm a regional administrator for a validated global CMMS database application. We are in the process of data cleansing in preparation to a web based data program update. The data was only input or modified by not more than a dozen people. It is unbelievable how many ways data can be entered incorrectly. In the last three months I've probably extracted and edited 100,000 records.

As I mentioned this system is validated, only a couple program owners, a few regional directors, several regional administrators, and those with limited or no access rights, site administrators, their admins, planners, schedulers, technicians. Got the picture, no ok. not everyone has access right.

Anyway, things can get out of hand quickly.

Does this address your questions?

schlammbad,

Do the responses in this thread address your questions?

BTW, welcome to the site.

Not as bad as it may seem...

I travel the entire US & Canada so I like to have as many POIs as possible up and ready to go for wherever I may end up. I just took an inventory and have almost 600 individual POI files from here, representing about 670,000 POIs. While it takes hours to load all the POI files (I do a complete wipe and add each time), I do it just as I go to bed and by morning, magically it's done!

What I'm saying is, individual files are not that tough to manage. I only download from here the ones that change and that's only about 10-20 every two weeks or so. I don't even do a weekly update of the redlight cameras although they are available that frequently. Downloading that many from here takes no time at all. And I like browsing through the list anyway.

If I were smart enough to know how to only update the ones that are changed, then even the overnight re-loading wouldn't be needed.

BTW, I really appreciate all who can and do create and update these individual files. They've made my use of my GPSr more than just a routing and mapping tool. It's become a way of planning parts of my travels.

--
NEOhioGuy - Garmin 2639, MIO Knight Rider

I take it you live in the

I take it you live in the U.S.?

Quote: Do the responses in

Quote:

Do the responses in this thread address your questions?

Given the responses I've seen, I'll make some refinements to my original post.

Having separate POI files could be left as-is, however, the POI Factory servers should also have the ability to parse that data into a master list to make it easy for users to create other POI mash-ups without having to download a bunch of individual POI files and parse them themselves. If someone enjoys parsing their own stuff, that's fine. Not everyone is that way.

As far as errors are concerned, the master database could easily remember where the data came from so that it can self-update as POI files get changed by the users. If a POI file can't be read by the parsing algorithm, it is ignored from inclusion in the master POI list. But, the POI file could still be made available to other users just like it is now. You just couldn't leverage the POI Factory servers to look at the data in other ways for you.

When I used the word "filters", that might have been a bad choice. Think more like how a stock photo site works around keywords. A bunch of keywords can be attached by users to their POI files, such as "Rest Area", "McDonald's", or "DD&D". The keyword list is user generated. If some keywords are close to each other, the server can suggest changes to the user submitting the file. Perhaps other users can even add keywords to others' files to help make them more discoverable than how the original poster thought.

Later, when I'm looking for POI data, I enter some keywords, afterwhich, I can either see all of the POI files that match, or I can get one POI file that contains the merged results of all the POI files that have those keywords associated and the file is in the format I choose, such as GPX, instead of CSV.

In addition to searching on keywords, the search could include a search radius either around a single point or a travel route. For example, find all of the POI files with "DD&D" as a keyword and filter those collective POIs down to just the ones that are within 20 miles of I-90 between Seattle and Boston. From an implementation perspective, the keyword search is easy, but the route search radius is difficult.

From a big picture perspective and as a new user, when I see the name "POI Factory", my expectations are higher than just a relatively simple file sharing service. Know what I mean? smile

.

The "Factory" is us. The users.

The company behind POI Factory is a small one (two people).

A "Master List" would, in my opinion, become untenable very quickly.

To much hassle

Motorcycle Mama wrote:

The "Factory" is us. The users.

The company behind POI Factory is a small one (two people).

A "Master List" would, in my opinion, become untenable very quickly.

I agree with Motorcycle Mama. The old adage "Keep it simple", applies here. Can you imagine what would happen if a GPS newbie logged on to the site and had to imput all of the various parameters to download a POI? They wouldn't take the time to figure it out. They would just go look somewhere else. There are questions from newbies on a frequent basis on how to download the POI files and tie them to the sounds and icons. I say again; the simplier, the better.

--
It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. ----George Washington

Expectations

schlammbad wrote:

……

From a big picture perspective and as a new user, when I see the name "POI Factory", my expectations are higher than just a relatively simple file sharing service.

In life there are hopes, aspirations, expectations, and then there is reality. Sometimes one has to adjust their expectations in the face of reality in order to avoid unnecessary disappointment.

I think its a good idea but ...

It's probably a bit much for the site admins to handle on top of what they already do for everyone here.

If one were to approach this in its simplest form and keep the number of fields low I think it would be doable without too much work. Of course this would only to take place with the blessing of the site admins and certainly NOT replace the existing file structure already present. I'm far too busy with work right now but I might be willing to take a crack at this in the future if people are interested.

Steve

We like things the way that

We like things the way that they are. We have looked at building something like this in the past and we may look at it again in the future.

Miss POI

Well said

miss poi wrote:

We like things the way that they are. We have looked at building something like this in the past and we may look at it again in the future.

Miss POI

Thank you, Miss POI.

i love the idea of..

I love being able to choose what I want. But, I can understand how it would be nice to download them all as well.

Easily....???

schlammbad wrote:

As far as errors are concerned, the master database could easily remember where the data came from so that it can self-update as POI files get changed by the users.

Just one more comment and then I'm done on this subject as it HAS been beaten to death at least once before.........

YOUR definition of "easy" is obviously somewhat different than many of the rest of us.

But then, anything is easy if you are not the one responsible for doing it !!! wink

--
Magellan Maestro 4250// MIO C310X

My thought...

is that keeping things relatively simple as it is currently orgainized would be the best for the majority of users. Having a data base would be fun and elegant for some, but it would be daunting for others. As it is, I take data from a number of select POI files to create my own customized file for driving trips. The data base method is an interesting idea, but it's implimentation is not feasible for pre-existing, volunteer-maintained data.

You guys are missing something

Databases have "export queries" that at the click of a button, export exactly what you want, to the file type that you want.

So it is possible to use a database at the server end, but when you click on 5 different POI categories to download, it sends you 5 separate CSV files, just like it does now.

I do this on a daily basis at work. I manage a sophisticated database, but management likes their reports in Excel format. With a single click, they get their data how they like it. I have the ease and efficiency of only having to update a single record instead of 30+ individual files.

And of course, importing works the same way. New data that's in external CSV or Excel files can be merged into the database quite easily.

Going to a master database would change virtually nothing at the user end of things.

Nothing wrong with change or debate, But

if you don't have the ability to write the code needed, I suggest you sit back and relax.
If you can write in Drupal 6 ask Jon if you can create a module and submit it to him for his review. I also suggest you create a sample data base for the test.
I am sure if you write the module it would be evaluated for use with no guarantee of anything because of what a few people are forgetting about if it ain't broke it really doesn't need fixing.

Of course this is just a suggestion, and some proprietary info would have to be released to you such as Variables & Field info. That's Jon's call and his his only.

So enjoy what you have, It's one heck of a community library.

--
Using Android Based GPS.The above post and my sig reflects my own opinions, expressed for the purpose of informing or inspiring, not commanding. Naturally, you are free to reject or embrace whatever you read.

Difficult to do

Ideas are cheap, implementing them is not. Although I like the idea, you would need to hire full time DBA's to maintain it. I think of this site as more of a "POI Community" than a factory. This site is about sharing not only files, but experiences as well. I would imagine a site like you describe as very popular, but it would be more people popping in, getting what they want and leaving. I don't think there would be a strong community since the idea of sharing would be replaced with supplying.

Just my 2 cents.....

--
Magellan Maestro 4250, T-Mobile G1 with Google Maps, iPaq with TomTom, and a Tapwave Zodiac with TomTom and Mapopolis

Schlammbad, have you downloaded any files?

Based on your replies to various of our comments, you seem to be wanting POI files to have "attributes" (to use data base terminology) one could select on. I don't know if these are what you were thing of, but I might suggest things like rest areas "with showers"; stores "open 24 hours"; lodging with "pets allowed"; restaurants serving "grilled chicken", and the like.

The reason I am interested in whether you have downloaded any POI files to your "Custom POIs" is that I am not clear how you would get the GPS unit to show you those selections. Design criteria would demand that the design of a system fit the capabilities of the end use - in this case the GPS.

Dakota 20

schlammbad wrote:

I'm new to POI Factory and something struck me about this site right away that, for right now, I see as a serious design flaw. All of the POI data on this site seems to be contained in files and separated out manually. Why is this site not centric around the POI data itself? I see a post for Rest Areas "Combined" and I see posts for Rest Areas broken out by state, some files for Interstates and some for non-Interstate. This is all unnecessary labor by members shuffling this data around to different files and posts if the site just stored all of the POIs in a database and then users can set whatever kind of filtering they want (i.e. "On Interstate", "Rest Area", etc.) for the site to kick out a custom file of POI data, be it CSV, GPX, KML, etc. on the fly. Let a database server do all of this work. smile

Since I'm a newbie here, tell me I'm missing something and that the way it is now is better somehow.

schlammbad
I am not very informed with GPS units. I have a Garmin Nuvi and my brother has a TomTom. That is the only ones I know about.
What is a Dakota 20? Does it use POIs like mine does?

I see you have been on this site only 2 days. Have you even used any of our POIs or worked with any of our POIs, or looked at all the great information we share with each other?

Your first day on this site you state "I see as a serious design flaw."

Study the site, get to know it, learn what we have here. Then, make suggestions. After only 2 days there is no way you can know how great a site this is and what we offer.
Thanks for dropping by. Hope you will stay and join in all our information.

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

Databases and Related Search Results

schlammbad wrote:

I'm new to POI Factory and something struck me about this site right away that, for right now, I see as a serious design flaw. All of the POI data on this site seems to be contained in files and separated out manually. Why is this site not centric around the POI data itself? I see a post for Rest Areas "Combined" and I see posts for Rest Areas broken out by state, some files for Interstates and some for non-Interstate. This is all unnecessary labor by members shuffling this data around to different files and posts if the site just stored all of the POIs in a database and then users can set whatever kind of filtering they want (i.e. "On Interstate", "Rest Area", etc.) for the site to kick out a custom file of POI data, be it CSV, GPX, KML, etc. on the fly. Let a database server do all of this work. smile

Since I'm a newbie here, tell me I'm missing something and that the way it is now is better somehow.

This site provides the opportunity for users to share data that you can manipulate in any way you wish. All at no cost.

The preparation, maintenance and general support of databases can be very costly.
So, the question becomes, "How much are you prepared to pay for a POI file containing only what you specify?"

I prefer the present set-up: especially since other users are so helpful in making it as easy as possible.

--
nuvi 855. Life is not fair. I don't care who told you it is.

Populating a database

schlammbad,

I had actually looked at what it would take to populate such a database based on the POI data files, and from a pure technical stand point, it is not that bad.

The POI files are in CSV, GPX, or OV2 format, and CSV is easy to parse, GPX is a little more complex, and depending on how it was generated, may have different fields populated, but not difficult. OV2 is a binary format, but documented, and should not be difficult to parse. Once these files are parsed, the data can be added to an SQL database quite easily.

There are some difficulties:

1. There is not a standard for the name field in the POI files. For example, one of the POI files I use is for a coffee shop chain (I can't remember which one). The POI file name is the name of the chain, each entry's name is the location and does not contain the name of the store. An automatic extraction would result in entries that would lose information.

2. It is difficult to identify duplicate entries from separate files. Names are not standard, addresses could be different, and lat/lon could be slightly different. How close would two locations need to be before we can call it a duplicate entry?

3. Related to 2, POI files are maintained by users informing the maintainer of inaccuracies. The file could be updated with lat/lon, but if we don't have a way to identify an entry, how do we identify an update vs. an add?

There are web services that can provide location information given a coordinate, so we can derive additional information based on lat/lon, so the database could contain more information than the original POI file.

I think a database could be very useful, maybe not for Garmin and TomTom users, but like you said, it could be used to generate other formats, and create custom POI files. As with many databases, there may be uses that no one has thought of before, until the data is available.

This could be done without affecting anything on this site. However, unless we can figured out how to overcome some of the problems, human intervention would be required to clean up the data. With about 10,000 files, that is a lot of data to manually clean up/verify.

Populating a database

schumans wrote:

The POI files are in CSV, GPX, or OV2 format, and CSV is easy to parse, GPX is a little more complex, and depending on how it was generated, may have different fields populated, but not difficult. OV2 is a binary format, but documented, and should not be difficult to parse. Once these files are parsed, the data can be added to an SQL database quite easily.

Agreed. If I were to try a initial test I think I'd use CSV files only at first, due to the easy parsing. The XML in the GPX files and the binary are not bad but would be more time intensive.

schumans wrote:

There are some difficulties:

1. There is not a standard for the name field in the POI files. For example, one of the POI files I use is for a coffee shop chain (I can't remember which one). The POI file name is the name of the chain, each entry's name is the location and does not contain the name of the store. An automatic extraction would result in entries that would lose information.

This can be easily handled by the input parsing OR on the output from the database. I'd recommend keeping the original source data filename in a separate field anyways, if not just for updating purposes. Question though, is the filename currently used when one imports from a POI file now?

schumans wrote:

2. It is difficult to identify duplicate entries from separate files. Names are not standard, addresses could be different, and lat/lon could be slightly different. How close would two locations need to be before we can call it a duplicate entry?

This is probably the biggest problem, filtering the source data for input based on field criteria. However, the worst case senario would be that *not exact* duplicates would be made which would be the same as if you uploaded both of the POI files.

schumans wrote:

3. Related to 2, POI files are maintained by users informing the maintainer of inaccuracies. The file could be updated with lat/lon, but if we don't have a way to identify an entry, how do we identify an update vs. an add?

Many factors here but one of the reasons I would suggest the source filename be added to each entry. Maintenance of the database could become an issue, mostly it would depend on how strict you are with the input data/files.

Another way of looking at this is rather than having a server based database, people could have a local database for their POIs only. MySQL is free and multi-platform, all users would need is an application to manage the local database.

Now I hope no one gets me wrong here, this is still a significant amount of work to pull this all together. I just wanted to state that it is doable, though it would seem not a very popular idea here.

Steve

With a database mashup

With a database mashup of many POIs, what would the alert say?

Database usage

jgermann wrote:

With a database mashup of many POIs, what would the alert say?

The original POI files would be left alone, so your existing POIs would work the same as before. The files would be used to populate the database.

The database could be used to generate POI files that are not available today. For example, one can generate a POI file that contains all the coffee shops within 50 miles of a location, or all POIs in a city or state. A POI file could be generated for all traffic cameras for a city. You would load that file and set the alert like you would with the RLC files today.

A database could open up new groupings of POIs that are not available today, using data we already have. How they are grouped would be up to our imagination and needs. It could be pretty cool.

My question however

schumans wrote:

The original POI files would be left alone, so your existing POIs would work the same as before. The files would be used to populate the database.

The database could be used to generate POI files that are not available today. For example, one can generate a POI file that contains all the coffee shops within 50 miles of a location, or all POIs in a city or state. A POI file could be generated for all traffic cameras for a city. You would load that file and set the alert like you would with the RLC files today.

A database could open up new groupings of POIs that are not available today, using data we already have. How they are grouped would be up to our imagination and needs. It could be pretty cool.

If a database were built as you envision, what would my incentive be as a file maintainer to maintain something I no longer had pride in? All this chatter about building databases that would combine the work of many into custom files overlooks the fact that every file here with the exception of the cameras is built and maintained by volunteers.

You may have some maintenance that would continue done by those that would submit corrections, but the incentive to scrub web sites and extract the information to build a poi in the first place would be taken away. It seems you are quick to take but slow to give and that is what makes this site so good. It is populated by a large number of people that are willing to share.

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