The three most important things to know about OverHere.co.za:
- I did not create Mapcodes. That information is found in the first FAQ below.
- I am an ‘I’, not a ‘we’ or an ‘it’. This is a one-man show, with no corporate interests.
- There is no warranty provided for the accuracy of anything here, or guarantee over up-time. I have done my best with everything here, but please cross-check the information generated independently.
Here are some answers to the questions I’m sure you have:
What are mapcodes?
Mapcodes have a fascinating history dating back to 2001, and you can read more about them at Mapcodes’ own website over here. For a deeper dive, I recommend the official Mapcode System reference document.
Why use mapcodes?
Normal physical addresses are terrible because:
- They’re hard to communicate by telephone or even write down accurately.
- They’re generally useless outside of urban areas with clear street numbering (i.e. most of the world).
- They’re hard to fit onto conventional advertising (e.g. business cards, billboards e-mail signatures and press adverts).
- Even when you get people to the general area, it’s difficult to identify details like the exact entrance or parking lot to use.
Mapcodes solve all of the above problems, for free.
What about other commercial address encoding systems?
The Mapcode system was donated to the public domain in 2008, and that makes it more impartial and transparent than third-party services with commercial interests and/or subscription fees. The Mapcode libraries (that perform the conversion of co-ordinates into Mapcodes and back) are available for download in full and can be integrated offline into any mapping solution. This makes the system future-proof: you never have to worry about the Mapcode Foundation closing down and your entire addressing system not working anymore.
Why haven’t I heard about mapcodes before?
WHY Mapcodes aren’t more in use is one of those frustrating mysteries for me … as this site (hopefully) demonstrates, the technology works and can be integrated into anything that uses a location (i.e. almost everything).
Why was this site developed?
This site emerged as a holiday challenge to myself in December 2018, as an attempt to create a basic platform which allow Mapcodes to become practically useful and to raise awareness of them.
Who are you?
My name is Leon, and I am your average 30-something South African. I’m not a website developer or a coder (my day job lies in advertising), but I’ve got a little experience in both and a nagging desire to help address this problem (pun intended) – renewed every time I have to read out my physical address to some call centre representative.
Something on the website is broken/doesn’t work!
How trustworthy are mapcodes?
This is an important point: some parts of this website may well break due to my personal coding failures/oversights (as mentioned above I’m not an expert), but the underlying technology and methodology is sound (being open source rather than a commercial third-party service that may be discontinued abruptly is critical).
How do I implement this in my own business/application?
Mapcodes have a very informative Developers section on their website, with details on their REST API, source code and all documentation. I got everything I needed there, you will too! Far from wanting a South African monopoly on mapcodes, this website’s goal is to encourage business owners and developers to integrate them across websites and local addressing systems.