Discussion Forums  >  Maps, Device Location, Tracking

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Michael Travis
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02/20/14 09:43 PM (9 years ago)

How to find business near you?

I can't seem to get my head wrapped around how maps works. I have seen apps like "My Local" that allow you to find restaurants, gas stations, etc. near you. Those places of businesses have to retrieved from somewhere. What allows an app to have this functionality? Is there an API that is needed for this? Thanks, Michael
 
chris1
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02/20/14 09:53 PM (9 years ago)
There's a couple of approaches for something like this. One is to use an API like Google Maps, which will pull in all businesses in a certain area. Another is to load the businesses yourself (likely through a backend), so that you control what the user sees. It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you're catering to users (and hoping to make whatever money you're shooting for from the users), then a third-party API is probably the best approach. On the other hand, if your model is focused on getting businesses to sign up (and pay) to be listed in the app, then it's on you to control the data.
 
Michael Travis
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02/21/14 05:16 AM (9 years ago)
Chris, Thanks for your response. One app I have in mind I would like users to be able to find certain types of businesses relevant to the app. The second app I had in mind would require me to create a database of businesses. I guess to further understand for the second one, is there already a database or some data I could retrieve off the internet that would save me time in entering this information?
 
SmugWimp
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02/21/14 06:20 AM (9 years ago)
I do that sort of thing for around here. Initially I created Garmin GPS Compatible maps of my region, because there weren't any. And I manually cataloged all of the restaurants, hotels, and continue to do so to this day. I keep these locations in a database, that drives my app 'contents'. Although that is a common solution, and quite efficient, it's just as easy to keep your data in a file that can be read from either within the app, or available for download on the net. It depends on your needs. If you're adventurous, you can get that kind of information from the USGS: http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/ I wish they had better resources for out here... It might help to know about shape files and things I might be able to help, but I'm intermittantly slammed and bored, so it's catch as catch can Hope this helps! Cheers! -- Smug
 
@rob
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02/21/14 09:00 AM (9 years ago)
Another approach for a "Targeted" selection of business, that you had full control to add and remove, is simply build yourself a database of LONs/LATs for all the business that you wish the user to see (just like what Smug suggested above). If I were going to do this on a large scale I would probably build myself a Geolocation script first(lots of open source examples on Google). You simple dump in a list of businesses, with addresses into the script and it geolocates them (using USGA or Google MAPS API) and writes their LON/LAT to your database. Then you can just have your mobile app take the users location and pull everything out of your database within a specified distance of their current location.....just one of many approaches and the advantage of this approach as @chris1 mentions is the ability to monetize your app for example you only show businesses that pay you for advertising etc.
 
Niraj Shah
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02/22/14 10:40 AM (9 years ago)
Take a look at an app a friend created with BT. Dive into the Directory part of the app. In there he has a curated list of Businesses that are integrated with Yelp. The businesses are located in a MySQL database that was populated with the MATE tool. http://www.MysqlAjaxTableEditor.com/ By emulating that same directory in your app, you can start small to learn the ropes of the technical, marketing and business aspects. Crawl-walk-run :-) Gilbert Heritage District https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gilbert-heritage-district/id627044389?mt=8 -- Niraj
 

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