Building a Better POI Database with Geolancer

Picture of Torsten Sandor

Point-of-Interest (POI) data is critical in many sectors of the economy. Businesses and customers both need accurate, authentic, and up-to-date POI data to find and deliver services. Data sets available on the market today, however, are often polluted, containing inaccurate and outdated information. Geolancer, our proprietary platform for Point-of-Interest data collection and verification set to launch in weeks, solves these issues.

The three main problems with the existing POI databases are the lack of recency, accuracy, and completeness.

Recency is especially important today, in the middle of a global pandemic. Many businesses were forced to close permanently, hard hit by Covid-19, and millions of POIs globally are outdated. In a better environment, the problem is the opposite, especially in developing countries like Vietnam or the Philippines: new businesses open every day and whole new districts appear on the map in just months. POI data providers cannot always keep up with the pace of change.

Accuracy is an issue because of the most common method of collecting POI data: extracting them from open sources, typically from Google Maps or OpenStreetMaps. This is capturing data based on what other people enter into the system, without any validation of accuracy. Moreover, in urban environments, even in relatively low-rise areas, GPS signals bounce off buildings and report inaccurate coordinates. This is not an issue when navigating, as these inefficiencies are handled on a software level. However, pinpointing an exact location just by relying on a smartphone is problematic:

Geolancer blog

The user is standing in front of a Family Mart convenience store on a busy road. The GPS, however, puts him in a back alley on the other side of the road, a minute walk away from the actual location. This is after the GPS fully “locked-in” to his coordinates. 

Completeness can be defined multiple ways. First, it can refer to the completeness of information related to a single data point. Opening hours of a business, on which floor the store is located, does a restaurant offer pickup service – these can be important considerations when analysing POI, but they are often missing from existing offerings on the market. Second, completeness is sometimes understood on a category or brand level, e.g., all the 7-11 stores in Singapore or all the vegan restaurants in Cebu. But with rapid changes in the physical world, how can POI providers supply category-complete data?

Geolancer, our proprietary POI data collection and verification platform, is designed to mitigate all three problems, resulting in accurate, complete, and up-to-date POI data.

Geolancer, counterintuitively, solves the accuracy problem by not displaying a map or any other visual clue in the app. The coordinates recorded are the de facto coordinates on the ground, i.e., precisely what a delivery person would need when looking for a store. They might not completely overlap with something like Google Maps or OpenStreetMaps – but they are practically right.

Geolancer screenshots

Completeness is achieved by manual verification. When a new POI gets added, another Geolancer needs to verify the information before it gets added to our database. In some cases, we even require a second verification, so we can make it sure that each data point has complete information. Completeness on a category or brand level can be guaranteed by briefing Geolancers to gather specific type of POIs.

Finally, Geolancers are incentivised to regularly update Points-of-Interest, as the compensation they receive depends on the number of data points they contribute. They are paid in EQUAD, the cryptocurrency issued by our blockchain arm, Quadrant Protocol. Cryptocurrency payment makes it possible for us to build a truly global army of Geolancers without worrying about the feasibility of micropayments and international remittance.

Geolancer is currently in a final beta testing phase, and we expect to launch it in April. We have started building our community, with two dozen countries represented on our Geolancer waiting list.

Interested in sourcing first-party, accurate, complete, and up-to-date POI data, especially in Southeast Asia, or manual verification of your existing data set? Talk to our POI Data Consultants today!

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