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Encoding web pages with a geographic reference

GIS Enabled Web Pages

A problem with the need to register web pages with the various search engines is that it takes time and there might be hundreds of different search engines you want to submit your site to. It might be easier then, to type the geographic locational information (ie co-ordinate) directly into web pages' HTML.

This sounds difficult, but the technicalities may be much easier than one might think.

We have to assume that the major search engines' spiders' have been programmed to look for a page's georeference when they index the web page. They already look for keyword information in a page's tags anyway, so this might make an appropriate starting point, eg

<meta name="Keywords" Content=" martin,family,history, kingston,devon, SX 63 47>

There are problems with the above in that there isn't anything to tell the spider / robot that the co-ordinate (SX 63 47) is associated with the Ordnance Survey British National Grid Referencing System, but the format of the "keyword", ie two upper case characters followed by two sets of 2 to 6 digits which may or may not be separated by a space, makes it likely. How can we find out if a search engine spider looks for these coordinates?

XHTML encoding of Dublin Core metadata

When talking about web pages, the Dublin Core Metadata tags, provide a simple and standard framework which allow web pages creators to insert general information about the information on the page directly into the HTML of the page. For example, there are tags for 'publisher', 'language', 'subject' and for our purposes, 'coverage', which can be used to specifiy the geographic location to which the information on the web pages relates.

If standards like this are used it is going to be much simpler to program the robots mentioned earlier to find their way to the geographic stamp in a web page.

Basically, this just means adding a couple of extra tags to the HTML from the Dublin Core set of tags. Adding the particular Dublin Core tag, called "coverage", is very straightforward and the process shouldn't be allowed to frighten or intimidate anyone. For an example of how one might encode a web page in this way go to

So, to geo-reference a web page to do with Kingston, Devon we might consider adding the following to the page's metatags:

<meta name="Keywords" Content=" martin,family,history, kingston,devon>

<meta name="DC.coverage.x" scheme="OSGB" content="263000">

<meta name="DC.coverage.y" scheme="OSGB" content="047000">

where "DC" stands for "Dublin Core", OSGB stands for Ordnance Survey Grid Base and the values on the content attribute are the units of measure in metres in an Easterly (x) and Northerly (y) direction from the origin (ie 0,0) of the Ordnance Survey Grid Base's co-ordinate system which is more or less positioned at the Scilly Isles, UK.]

Working Model

Go Ordinate, from Digital Documents, is an internet search engine which uses Geographical Information such as a placename or co-ordinate to search the internet and this approach is set to revolutionise the internet. The technology is still in its infancy though, but it is growing fast!

If you would like to help build this new "geo internet" then feel free to submit sites to our search engine by going to Go Ordinate Submit


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