by Risto Vuorjoki
VTT Information Technology has developed a map based system for information retrieval in the WWW. The system is currently used with housing advertisements in Helsingin Sanomat, Finlands biggest daily newspaper, where it has been integrated as part of their www-service for the advertisement section. The system can be adapted to other types of information as well.
The system developed allows the user to specify an area in which to look for advertisements by dragging the mouse over a map image. The system then searches for advertisements on that area and visualises the locations of the found houses and flats on the map. The user can also specify more precise search criteria such as price and the number of rooms. Maps in three different scales are included so that an overview of a large area can be seen as well as a detailed map of a particular location.
Screen snapshots of the user interface.
The user interface has been implemented as a Java applet, so the system can be used with any Java-aware WWW browser. The end users do not have to install new software in their computers to look for information they need. Instead, they can just move to the appropriate WWW pages.
The system can easily be adapted to other fields of use. Different kinds of advertisements can be used, as long as they include information on locations that are to be visualised. Connections to SQL databases are also possible, allowing the use of an existing database. Different kinds of maps in different areas can be used as well.
Risto Vuorjoki - VTT Information Technology
Tel: +358 9 4566044