Posted by Gavin Love on Mar 30, 2015

Geomob London March 2015

I recently attended geomob, I had never been before but it was a really interesting evening. If you are at all interested in all things geo or map related then you really should find the time to attend.

I also spoke about how we do Geo at MyBuilder, it was very different to the other talks as it was more focused on a business, where geo is not the main focus, but is something which has to work for it to be effective.

Since I didn’t include much in my slides, I will cover what I talked about in further detail below.

For our tradesmen being able to control where they work is very important. For example, if they have to travel too far then they are unlikely to be able to make a profit from the jobs they do. On the other hand the job poster wants to find a tradesmen who is close, as it tends to mean they are more responsive.

Originally we only allowed tradesmen to give us a postcode and a radius and we would send them any leads that fell within that area. This was ok, but of course led to huge problems with estuaries, forest, mountains and rivers. We would allocate jobs to tradesmen which although they were only say 8 miles away ‘as the crow flies’ it could take hours to drive their, so of course they did not want to travel for that job.

After putting up with this for a while, we decided we had to change how we worked and allow tradesmen to draw a polygon on a map of the area they wanted to work. Over the years we have created a number of reversions to this orginally idea, and our latest version has since be opensourced as Bermuda.

This made our tradesmen much happier very quickly, no longer were we sending them leads in places that they did not want to work, however we still to this day only calculate the straight line distance between the tradesmen and the job, this is something we would like to change at some point in the future.

We would also really like to have a GIS system which would enable us to view where we have tradesmen and where we do not in a good visual manner.

The other side of the geo coin for MyBuilder is in our landing pages which we use to attract visitors from the search engines via free and paid methods. These are critical to our success as a business and if we had not built them in the early days of the business I doubt we would still be here.

We have created around 4.2 million landing pages all of which are dynamically generated on the fly using a single sql query ran against our PostgreSQL database - which we love for it native support for points, polygons and distance calculations.

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