Our iPhone/iPod touch/iPad users and 5th Edition Nokia users got to see a new feature in their apps this week: Venue Information. I thought I’d take a little time to explain what we’ve added, and why it matters. And don’t worry if you use us on an Android device, or access our map via our web page, the same features will be coming to those places too soon.
What Is It?
For now, we’re collecting only some basic information about each venue:
- Its name
- Its type (via a set of tags)
- A rating (1-5 stars)
Obviously, we have a geocode as well. At the moment, you will see an address, but that is always generated today by reverse geocoding the coordinates. Over time, we hope to be able to collect addresses too and pin locations down based on that data.
How Do I See This Information?
You will notice in the map callouts, as well as for some rows in the history screen, that a new icon has appeared to the right of the information. Tap that and you will be taken to the venue information for that venue, if we have any.
If we don’t have any, then you will be taken to a simpler screen that asks you to tell us the name of the place, and set the initial tag (the venue’s primary type):
We’ll tell you all we know, typically just the network name (SSID) and perhaps the Wi-Fi operator. In the example above, you can see the network name is “Mama Art Cafe” but we don’t really know the operator (it is assigned to one of our Easy WiFi Network placeholder IDs).
If you’d like to help us improve our service, fill in the name and pick a type, then tap Save and your information will be added to the map. Tap the big red ‘No Thanks’ button if you want to skip this and return to the map.
WiFi Experience Rating
Our automated system for mapping Wi-Fi networks indicates, by means of the signal bars on the map pins, how likely you are to get connected at a specific location, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the overall WiFi experience.
Perhaps the location connects you every time, but is slower than a 300 baud dial up connection (anybody remember those?). Perhaps it is super fast, but there’s no where to sit down and surf. Or maybe it has everything you could ask from a hotspot (if you find one with free wifi and free beer, please let me know – that kind of location might need personal testing!).
Tap the stars to add your rating from 1 (no good) to 5 (great). If you’ve already rated a location, the stars will be red. If not, you’ll see the average of everybody else’s ratings in yellow (or no rating, if nobody has ever rated the place, giving you the honour of being the first to rate it).
Reporting Errors (or Abuse)
We strive to keep everything in our database as current as possible, and we have magical algorithms running all the time tracking changes and status, but every once in a while we suspect the information might become out dated (venues change names), or just have been entered incorrectly. For that we have a reporting mechanism at the bottom of the venue detail page.
Tap the button, tell us in a few words what’s wrong (and if possible what it should be), and classify the error so we can send it to the correct place to be fixed, and we’ll do our best.
As I mentioned above, at the moment the addresses are being reverse geocoded from the coordinates, and while they’re normally close, they don’t always match exactly. If you want to tell us the right address, we’ll be very grateful, but it will take a while for it to be reflected on the map. Rest assured, we are keeping all the information you send us like that safe in our database, and will make sure it does get added.
If you’re a venue operator, and would like to make sure we have all your information correct on our map, please ping us. We can be contacted via Twitter (@easywifi or @devicescape), through the comments on this page, via our forum or just email me directly (I’m john ‘at’ devicescape.com).