Thanks for getting this started Barry. I’m not sure which addresses you are talking about in the first bullet point. Would that be the users address? If so, that would be a good idea to find the location of users but I’m not sure how many people would want to divulge that publicly and this topic is for the geo tagging of topics. Perhaps another topic for geo tagging peoples locations would be in order (which which be a cool feature as well).
Maintaining a list of cities, municipalities, political regions, etc. would be very difficult to maintain for an administrator so I think long/lats would be the best way to go but perhaps there’s a hybrid approach that could be used. Here’s what I’m thinking.
While creating a topic (or editing an existing one), an image or link can be clicked which would open up a google maps popup where the user can select a lat/long location. But can also select a radius of X kms/miles. For example, if my topic is about illegal dumping in a forest in my area, the pin would be in the center of the forest and the radius perhaps 5 or 10 kms.
In addition to the lat/long, the tagging plugin can be used to enter “Sherwood Forest municipality of Tache in Manitoba”. This would require an enhancement to the tagging plugin as currently it doesn’t allow blanks so makes it difficult to enter multiple tags at once.
The goal of this feature is for a user to be able to find topics of geographical interest or proximity to them. There would be 2 way to accomplish this.
In the search area, an option would exist to do a geographical search. This would open a dialog pretty much exactly the same as the one to input long/lats and radius. The search would then find any topics that have a geo location that overlaps the entered geo location. So if I’m a user looking for issues going on in my neighbourhood or nearby forest, or in my mothers county, I can find them. The Progress database engine that Discourse using has the ability to store and search on coordinates so leveraging that would make this feature quite feasible.
If tags were entered to enrich the geo locations, then I could view the Tags page from the plugin and do a browser text search for “Tache” and find the topics that refer to that tag. This would be a baby step though because it’s not user friendly, nor intuitive for most users. Ideally, the tagging plugin would be enhanced to tie into the regular text search mechanism.
Taking all this a bit further would be the ability to be notified when a topic is created within X kms/miles from my defined location of interest. That would be sweeeet