Accessibility

Modern Geek - Geo Location

Image of a Greek man pointing to the words "Learning Modern Geek" and "Geo Location"

There are some really cool (and of course useful) things that you can do with geo location. Your computer and mobile devices are capable of working out pretty much exactly where you are and it's possible to tap into that to provide your website visitors with location based functionality.

In this post I'll be discussing some of the things that are possible using Google Maps but there will be other mapping websites out there that also enable you to create some amazing things.

You are Here!

First cab off the rank is Current Location. As mentioned, our devices can work out where we are, so why not display an icon for "You Are Here!" It will give your website visitors an idea as to what is around them and how they can get to it.

Map showing a You Are Here sign

We are Here!

Of course if you can determine the website visitor's current location, it goes without saying that you can pin point your location using a custom map marker as explained in the last Modern Geek blog post. Having a marker showing where you are, and a marker showing the visitor's current location, it's easy for them to work out how to get to your business.

Map showing a You Are Here sign and a We Are Here sign

Go this way...

It is also possible to highlight the route between two locations - for example between where the visitor is and where you are, making it even easier for them to get to you!

Map showing directions from Point A to Point B

Or perhaps that way...

Finding the best route according to Google may not be the way the website visitor wants to travel. How about giving them some options? You can mark up to 5 possible routes between two points on a map, and Google automatically works them out for you so you don't have to lift a finger!

Map showing multiple routes between Point A and Point B

How long is it going to take?

Another great feature is Duration. Google will determine the estimated time that it should take to get from Point A to Point B and you can display this on your website, either on the map itself or in your website content. The duration takes into account traffic conditions and uses the fastest route. We recently used this in an Emergency Turn Out website for the local fire brigade. When members turn out to a fire, a monitor at the station displays who is coming and how long it will be until they arrive at the station.

Location on the move...

Again using the current location functionality, along with some clever coding, it's possible to send the current location to your website at regular intervals. This creates a number of locations that have been visited and you can automaticlally have a line drawn on the map following your route. This would be ideal for tracking vehicles, as is the case with our very own IceCreamer.com.au website which will track any logged in ice cream vans so you never have to miss out again!

Where to next?

This is just a few ways that might be able to help you think of things you can do to improve the customer experience on your website using location.

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