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    Testing Unlock 3: new API, new features, soon even documentation

    May 18th, 2011

    This week we are public testing version 3 of Unlock – a fairly deep rewrite including a new simpler API and some more geometrical query functions (searching inside shapes, searching using a buffer). New data – providing a search across Natural Earth Data, returning shapes for countries, regions, etc worldwide. So at last we can use Natural Earth for search, and link it up to geonames point data for countries. We also have an upgraded version of the Edinburgh Geoparser so have date and event information as well as place-name text mining, in Unlock Text.

    The new search work is now on our replicated server at Appleton Tower and in a week or two we’ll switch the main unlock.edina.ac.uk over to the new version (keeping the old API supported indefinitely too). Here are notes/links from Joe Vernon. If you do any testing or experimentation with this we’d be very interested to hear how you got on. Note you can add ‘format=json‘ to any of these links to get javascript-useful results, ‘format=txt‘ to get a csv, etc.

    ‘GENERIC’ SEARCHING

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=sheffield

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=wales&featureType=european

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?featureType=hotel&name=Marriott&minx=-79&maxx=-78&miny=36&maxy=37&operator=within

    NATURAL EARTH GAZETTEER

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=lake&gazetteer=naturalearth&country=canada

    DISTANCE BETWEEN TWO FEATURES

    Distance between Edinburgh and Glasgow (by feature ID):

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/distanceBetween?idA=14131223&idB=11153386

    SEARCHING WITHIN A FEATURE – ‘SPATIAL MASK’

    United Kingdom’s feature ID is: 14127855

    Searching for ‘Washington’s within the United Kingdom…

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=Washington&spatialMask=14127855

    Also, note the difference between searching for within the bounding box of the UK, or adding the ‘realSpatial‘ parameter, which uses the polygon of the feature concerned.

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=Washington&spatialMask=14127855format=txt&maxRows=100&realSpatial=no

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=Washington&spatialMask=14127855&format=txt&maxRows=100&realSpatial=yes

    In this case, it picks up entries in Ireland if using the bounding box rather than the UK’s footprint.

    SPATIAL SEARCHING WITH A BUFFER

    8 hotels around the Royal Mile
    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?featureType=hotel&minx=-3.2&maxx=-3.19&miny=55.94&maxy=55.95&operator=within

    75 within 2km
    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?featureType=hotel&minx=-3.2&maxx=-3.19&miny=55.94&maxy=55.95&operator=within&buffer=2000

    FOOTPRINTS & POSTCODES

    …should still be there:
    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/footprintLookup?identifier=14131223
    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/postCodeSearch?postCode=eh91pr

    IMPLICIT COUNTRY SEARCHING

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?format=txt&gazetteer=geonames&featureType=populated place&name=louth
    vs
    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?format=txt&gazetteer=geonames&featureType=populated place&name=louth, uk

    TIME BOUNDED SEARCH (still in development)

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=edinburgh&startYear=2000&endYear=2009

    http://geoxwalk-at.edina.ac.uk/ws/search?name=edinburgh&startYear=2000&endYear=2010

    Very happy with all this, bringing the Unlock service up to offering something usefully distinctive again, trying to restrain myself from saying (“if X was so easy why don’t we do Y?”)