Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Making a Live Post Code

The Exact Editions import process now makes post codes live, clickable, resources. We have been doing this for a week. It is not easy to predict all the doors that this might open for our publishing partners. But it is very clear that it makes advertisements more useful and more interesting. Take a simple classified ad in the Quaker weekly The Friend, which we distribute every Friday. The Penn Club has a regular ad in the magazine:

That clipping shows you the ad, but it does not show you the live links (post code, email and url), for that you need to have a subscription to our service. If you were a subscriber you would note that the post code was highlighted, and that the link takes you to an optimal view in Google Maps. If you subscribe to one of our magazines you can state on your preferences page which map system you want to use (Multimap and Street Map UK are also supported). We have a number of other resolvers in hand...... and will gradually add post code systems from other countries.

Google has for some time provided live geo-links from some of its books. But their approach is based on selecting books with a strong geo-interest (for example this travel guide to Ecuador) and then providing a constructed map view of the places mentioned in the book (probably more difficult, but less scaleable than our zip-code resuscitation method). So far as I know, neither Google, nor any other digital edition platform has yet done automated linking from post codes to a mapping system. But, of course I could be wrong about this and will print a correction if someone can produce the counter-example(s).

There is also the important difference that the Google system is really producing an annotated map from a book, whereas our system is providing navigation links from explicit items within the text. One might say, that if a post code deserves to be printed, it merits being made into a navigation link. Its simply more useful and more valuable that way.

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