GeoRSS

Geographically Encoded Objects for RSS feeds (GeoRSS)

The project was done for a premier provider of comprehensive roadside assistance and insurance programs for corporate use throughout the United States and Canada. GeoRSS is a simple proposal for geo-enabling, or tagging, “really simple syndication” (RSS) feeds with location information. GeoRSS proposes a standardized way in which location is encoded with enough simplicity and descriptive power to satisfy most needs to describe the location of Web content. GeoRSS may not work for every use, but it should serve as an easy-to-use geotagging encoding that is brief and simple with useful defaults and at the same time extensible and upwardly-compatible with more sophisticated encoding standards such as the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) GML (Geography Markup Language).

Solution

GeoRSS is a simple proposal for RSS feeds to be described by location or Geotagged. GeoRSS standardizes the way in which “where” is encoded with enough simplicity and descriptive power to satisfy most needs to describe the location of Web content.

Perhaps the most powerful advantages of GeoRSS feeds is seen in the possibilities for geographic search and aggregation. More than just getting feeds for a particular city or zip code, using GeoRSS makes it posssible to search with all sorts of geographic criteria. Perhaps all earthquake-related items within 20 miles of your home–delivered to your phone, or a feed of traffic accident items along your daily commute? Once RSS feeds contain geographic location, applications like these and more are possible.

Architecture

Database is used to store all information, generate centralized statistics, maintain data integrity and business logic.

Front end is responsible for displaying application web pages written in ASP.NET. Client side is presented by web pages where users have to either register and use service for money or free or use free access without any registration. Full portfolio of tools and functions is provided to the users of paid accounts including some possible analytic reports, charts, RSS alerts, email alerts. For example a user is able to receive alerts if specified keywords in the news were found. Solution is “full screen”, that is, the main window is the world map, not much else around it place for legend box that user can open and close, a small index map to show relative location (useful when you zoom in), and then time-scale bar that can allow the user to tell the system to display “show all earthquakes in the last month, year, 2 years” for “country, city, state, or world”. News are shown as icons, and give the user some control over how to display icons or symbology and which ones to display. if a user hovers the mouse over one, he gets a short note with some small detail, and if he clicks on it, then either a window frame opens with the full news article or story, or a separate browser window opens up. If a user is zooming in some region, he will see more specific individual details for zoomed region. Also users should have an opportunity to save their settings (news filters, last location and so on). For showing the world map, the client application has Virtual Earth Map control. Virtual Earth provides the power behind Window Live Local, an online mapping service that enables users to search, discover, explore, plan, and share information about specific locations. By using traditional road maps, labeled aerial photo views, low-angle high-resolution aerial photos, and proximity searching capabilities, Virtual Earth provides unique opportunities to incorporate both location and local search features into their Web applications. So users have an opportunity to:

  • view world map with news icons
  • filter news by time period, location and so on
  • save user’s settings
  • subscribe for alert receiving
  • other things

Administrator side is configured client and server side applications. On the server side:

  • Amount, which is drawn out from the credit card
  • Configure hyperlinks of the rss news
  • Intervals of downloading news
  • City list management
  • Users management
  • System settings management

Server side is presented by services that download news from specified rss channels (such as CNN.com, BBC.com, FoxNews.com, NBC.com) at specified time intervals by scheduler. Then they analyze downloaded news for getting geographic name. Analyze is run service «rss to GeoRSS». GeoRSS is a way to encode location in an RSS feed. The Geonames “RSS to GeoRSS Converter” reads the entries of an RSS feed and searches the Geonames Database to find a location for the entry text. If a relevant location is found, its latitude and longitude are added to the RSS feed using the GeoRSS encoding. GeoRSS does not yet support other geographical information (other than latitude and longitude). Result is a RSS feed with latitude and longitude for each entry where the geonames search engine has found a relevant location. Already existing GeoRSS elements in the feed remain unchanged. After getting geographic component we have to translate it into geographic names. Server application contains logic for processing payments by paypal system. So server application is responsible for:

  • downloading news with specified interval
  • getting latitude and longitude of news item
  • getting geographic name for specified latitude and longitude
  • providing methods or mechanisms for getting stored news by specified area, time interval, types (possible filters)
  • storing news with these geographic components
  • payment processing system
  • user info and settings storage

Data collection module provides fast automated collection of data to the central storage.

Tools and Technologies

  • MS Visual Studio 2005
  • MS SQL Server 2000/2005
  • SQL scripting for data collection

Benefits

GeoRSS definitely holds promise to put the rich geospatial content directly in the hands of the consumer community, allowing individuals with no deeper technology skills than mastery of blogging to become geospatial data publishers.

Post development support was provided to the customer in order to implement new features and improvements requested by end users after some experience in using the system.
Documentation supplied as a part of delivery package covers all aspects of the system, including hardware/software requirements and configuration, deployment guide, configuration guide, migration guide and user manual.