Geocoding as easy as 1-2...

February 13, 2007 code 3 min read

3?, nope there is no 3. Geocoding as easy as 1-2!

  1. Create your models
  2. Find them!
event = Event.create :street => "777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.",
  :city => "Portland", :region => "Oregon", :postal_code => 97232

# how far am I from RailsConf 2007?
event.distance_to "49423" #=> 1807.66560483205

# Find our new event, and any other ones in the area
Event.find(:all, :within => 50, :origin => "97232")

# Find the nearest restaurant with beer
Restaurant.find(:nearest, :origin => event, :conditions => 'beer = true')

I know you’re excited, so instead of blabbing on-and-on, FAQ-style:

How are you performing this voodoo?

A slick new plugin called acts_as_geocodable.

How do I get it?

script/plugin install -x git://

How do I set it up?

Its all in the README.

Why did you write this when there’s already several geocoding plugins?

The Ruby geocoding space is pretty fragmented right now. There’s all kinds of geocoders available, and none of them provide everything. We’re determined to fix that with Graticule and acts_as_geocodable.

We believe that all the heavy lifting of geocoding, distance calculations, etc., should be left to a gem, and only code that is directly related to Rails should be a Rails plugin. Even more, all the different geocoders should be available in the same package and have the same interface. A plugin should then be built on top of the gem that makes your apps geo-capabilities seem like voodoo.

We started our own projects because we didn’t think anyone else got it right. Recently, Bill Eisenhaur and Andre Lewis did a pretty good job, and we borrowed some of their ideas, but I still have issues with their approach and code, mainly that it’s all tied up into a Rails plugin.

Did you get it right?

I think we have a great foundation. It’s not perfect, nor does it have all the features of the other packages, but I think it is well architected.

Why don’t you work together?

Excellent idea! We would love to.

How does this fit in with JWZ’s use case

(Why are you asking this?) A third of the problem is knowing where, a third is when, and a third is who. You’re on your own for the who and when.

Happy geocoding!

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avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.