About GeoSearch

This page describes the graphical search engine GeoSearch. Geotags are described here.

December 2001 - moved to the htDig indexing agent. Much better indexing of the document content.

Using the search engine

Frequently Asked Questions

I can't find anything; why not?
The search engine is new, and requires special tags on websites. It cannot index pages until they have been tagged and submitted.
The search index has been preloaded with some demonstration pages of cities around the world. The following search terms will generate hits: Europe, Asia, US, London, New York, Boise etc. plus most country codes - AU, DE, ZA etc.
Some more entries may be seen at New Pages in Geotags, and there is a snapshot of keywords in the index here.

How does the search engine work?
The GeoSearch search engine at GeoTags.com uses geogaphic HTML tags embedded in Web pages to locate resources on a map. The geographic position (latitude and longitude) of the resources are indexed along with keywords from the Web page. Clicking a position on the map sends (x,y) coordinates to the search engine which are translated to latitude and longitude and used to sort the search results and to reject hits outside the displayed area.

I get a lot of red circles at the bottom of the page. Why is this?
The search engine uses Style Sheets to place markup on the map in the correct location. This is much faster than creating a custom map image for every search. You must have Style Sheet support enabled in your browser.

Why is the sea sometimes white ?
Why are there no cities or roads on the map ?
The map is currently generated from coastline data as a black and white line drawing. Seas are filled in with blue starting at a number of fixed locations. If the map is zoomed in, there may not be any fill points on the screen. Future versions may provide a more detailed map.

Are the positions shown on the map accurate ?
The positions shown on your screen may be a few pixels off due to rounding errors. A higher zoom factor will show the position more accurately. The positions shown are those on the Web page. There is no guarantee that these are precise, or even marginally correct.

What are the distances shown ?
The distances shown are calculated as great circle distances from the last click position to the location of the resource. This is an "as the crow flies" distance and is given for information only.

Do any other search engines use geographic tags ?
Not yet. If the pilot project is successful, they may. The tags are intended as an open standard.

I cannot register my page with the search engine; why not ?
Pages must include valid geo tags before they will be indexed. Latitude and Longitude values must be valid (within the range +/-90 degrees and +/-180 degrees respectively), and geo.region values, if used, must be valid.

Why do the geographic tags not use XML/RDF/DC/ISO6709/GML etc. ?
In order to be accepted by HTML authors the tags must be as simple and unambiguous as possible, and should be compatible with legacy (non-XML) web pages.
In order to be processed easily by the search engine, the tags should use a strictly defined format or list of elements.
While many standards exist, or are in development, for geographic metadata, they fail to meet one or both of these requirements at the current time (May 2000).
References:

When standards are adopted which meet the stated requirements for search engine processing and author acceptance, the geographic search engine will be enhanced to accept them.

Will using geographic tags affect how my page looks ?
Will using geographic tags hurt my site ranking in other search engines ?
No. Providing the tags are well formed (angle brackets and quotation marks properly nested and closed), HTML META tags are invisible on the page and are treated independantly by search engines.

Submitting a page to the Search Engine

If your page can sensibly be added (if it refers to some particular place on the Earths surface):
First, add geotags to the page. The GeoTag Generator may be used to help create the meta tags.
Then, use the Robot Request page to submit your page to the robot.

Recently indexed pages should appear in the new page list.

Other Questions
Please address other questions to:

Andrew Daviel