Point of Interest Project (POI Mapping Project)
This is a review of a new project out there called Point Of Interest, or for the sake of simplicity, we’ll call it the POI Project.
As with all projects, this one is different in the kinds of tasks being performed. The main goal is to evaluate the quality of POI data as a whole, and we’ll explain what that means later on.
The term POI generally refers to any entity that you would find in the Yellow Pages directory like a mall, a movie theatre, or some kind of department store. These are places that users want to find on a map and potentially navigate to it, so you’ll have to check and make sure that they are correct and accurate as possible. We probably don’t need to go over ALL the examples of POIs but it can be anything from a business to a farmers market.
However, there can also be a POI in a POI such as a department store in a mall. Examples of some other Parent POIs include, hospitals, universities, parks and amusement parks, hotels, golf courses, beaches, and even boardwalks can be a point of interest.
Each point of interest is associated with additional information that helps a user locate or contact a point of interest. This is called the POI listing information and what a user sees on a POI info card when interacting with the POI on the map. The accuracy of the listing information must be verified and we will go over how you would do this.
Each POI has the additional information that you’re going to need to accurately verify the listing including:
• Phone number
• Official URL/website
• Pin location
• Entry points
When doing an evaluation, you are presented with three different types of questions.
POI Validity – This is pretty straightforward and asks: Does the POI represent an actual entity? So if you are shown a place on a map where an entity should be, but there is nothing there, you would answer NO to this question. However, chances are that most of the time you will answer YES to this question.
Data Accuracy – Is the POI Information Correct? You’ll want to take a look at the info card that we just went over and determine the accuracy of each opponent of the POI listing information. If the POI doesn’t meet the requirements to be considered ‘valid’ then you do not need to verify the listing.
Comments – Are there any issues with the POI?: This is not really a question but you are presented with a comments box that must be filled out whenever conflicting information for a listing is found. Your comments should include links to any websites that you used to verify this information or other information that will be helpful for future visits for that POI.
And that is where some good research skills are going to come in handy. You are EXPECTED to do online research to verify the validity of the POI and the listing information. You can do this by using the official web pages, social media, street imagery, and postal authorities.
If you cannot find official resources then you should see if there are other reliable sources such as newspaper sites or crowdsourced user review sites. Use your search engine skills to locate official resources and try to find some local knowledge when relevant to understand POI details.
The rating interface is not bad looking and you shouldn’t have any problem quickly marking what you need to using the drop-down menus and selecting the appropriate result.
Most of the time you will be responding Yes to this question unless the entity doesn’t appear at all on the map. If you do answer Yes then additional Data Accuracy Questions will appear.
If for some reason the Address Accuracy Question is rated as ‘Incorrect’ then you will see a checkbox list of address components appear and it will look like this:
We should point out that the POIs evaluation requires research to verify the POIs name, category, address, phone number, hours of operation, the official website location including the latitude and longitude (which is displayed as a PIN on the map) and entry points to the location or entity.
We’ve already gone over what types of resources you should use to verify this information, but we will quickly go over it one more time. Make sure you perform a regular web search of the POI by the name and the town, city, or village to see if an official resource, such as a website, can be found. Only by doing this can you judge if a POI is valid or not.
Official websites will definitely be the first place to start and here we have provided a few examples.
There can be other official resources as well even if the entity doesn’t have its own website. Make sure to check social media sites that are claimed by the business and have some updates within the last six months. Street imagery for the business showing streets or buildings where the entity is. Remember, you are trying to see if this is a real place that still exists or not.
Postal authorities can also help with postal codes or locality names if the entity exists.
If the POI lacks an official website, then officially managed social media pages can also be used to validate the information.
However, when doing this job, there are some online research exceptions. These include EV Chargers such as PlugShare or Alternative Fuels Data Center, Bike Share POIs which use at least three different street images, bus stops which may or may not be obvious, and in-store kiosks.
There are times when you will not be able to validate a POI listing. These could be that the entity has closed down, it could operate from a residence and be registered to a residential address. There are also Seasonal POIs such as a farmers market or a seasonal amusement park. There are many examples of these in the official guidelines which should be kept handy at all times while validating. Here we provide a few examples to give you an idea.
If a POI has closed or shut down, it might be really hard to identify but there are some things you can do. Chain POIs that have different branches will usually list those locations on their official site and you can also check social media to see if people are saying the entity closed down. Check the street imagery of where the entity should be. If you don’t see it, you’ll mark No – Closed.
There are some other exceptions when it comes to research on this that can be found in the guidelines including tons of exhaustive examples of POI Types and how they should be rated including an explanation of why it was rated the way it was.
As we always say with every project we review, make sure you read the guidelines over and over until you are certain that you understand what you are doing and how to do it.
Obviously, it’s important that the name of the entity is correct and straightforward. If you see any slight alteration to the name, then it will be rated as partially correct.
There are three different options in rating the name as follows:
This is easy to understand. Simply look at the URL of the website and see if it’s correct or not. If it’s not, then you will rate it depending on which option fits it best.
The guidelines have many exhaustive examples when it comes to URL Rating examples and shows you how to decide if the URL is correct, or if it’s not.
Every entity should have an address associated with it so that users can navigate to the business or entity. There are two different address types: Formatted address for displaying to users and the Structured Address is the ‘raw’ version of the address used in the database.
POIs within POIs
We touched on this a little bit at the beginning of our review. These are businesses that are inside of a parent entity such as a mall, hospitals, universities, train stations, and department stores. Keep in mind that a phone number of a POI within a POI that is listed on the info card must meet two things before it can be called ‘Correct’. Check the guidelines for more information on this.
POI hours need to be verified using official resources only and you’ll see the following Hours Rating Options.
Remember that there will also be hours that are different for the child and parent entity. For example, a mall may stay open while other shops inside close early. You’ll need to make sure that the hours listed are the child entity for which you are researching and not the parent entity.
Some POIs also have seasonal hours and the guidelines go over all these with a lot of examples.
Categories for POIs got to be correct as well and you need to determine if the category is accurate and the best fit available in the category list. Some examples of category ratings are as follows:
There are many different examples in the guidelines to help you decide which category the entity should be rated at.
If you have ever looked at a Google Map for an entity, then you know that there is a Pin that is supposed to mark that location with a certain accuracy. So for each POI, you would check to see if the pin is exactly over the POI or if it’s not accurate and placed somewhere else. The following are the Pin Rating Options:
There are literally 11 or so pages on this topic alone in the guidelines as there can be many different options or exceptions when it comes to checking the accuracy of the pin.
Entry Point Accuracy
It’s quite obvious what an entry point is, this is when you would be told by Google Maps that you have arrived. That said, there is more than just one entry point including Vehicular Entry Points, Pedestrian Drop Off Zones, and Pedestrian Entry Points such as the front doors to a large mall or hospital. The following are the Entry Point Rating Options
Again, the guidelines give some exhaustive examples of this and how to rate the entity including when there are no entry points available at all including a helpful flowchart that helps to make a decision on Entry Points.
The last thing is the comments. Comments are incredibly important because here you will be able to list all the issues you might have had in researching the entity. It is important to understand that comments are MANDATORY anytime you find conflicting information and it needs to be corrected. Some of those issues might be as follows:
Make sure that when you comment that you refer to the 150-page guidelines to help you understand how to reference those issues that might arise. Make sure that you are concise, and skip being too elaborate stating only the problem. Also, English is the only language that comments can be written in.
We hope you found this information useful, and we would like to hear from anyone who is working on this project. As always, if you need help passing an exam, have some questions about one of these work at home opportunities, or if you need any help at all, please leave a comment or email us and we will reply as soon as possible.