Video: Alpha Anywhere Application Example Demonstrating Data Geocoding, Distance, and Map Routing

David Kates, Alpha consultant and owner of Rune Systems Inc., demonstrates how he uses Alpha Anywhere's tightly integrated mapping and geolocation features to build web and mobile apps for business.

Ontario is having one of the coldest winters on record this year and, unfortunately, that’s where I live.  Just north of Toronto in a little town called Unionville there’s not a mature tree left standing without major damage due to the storms.  This cold got me thinking about how the guys who fix furnaces get around in terms of job priority.  I thought that building web apps for small business heating companies would be an interesting challenge for Alpha Anywhere and, as it turns out, Alpha met it well.

Using Geocoding and Mapping I was able to start with some basic data such as street address and get the latitude and longitude using Alpha functions.  Alpha has an option to use Google to Geocode and this works very well.

After I’ve got a latitude/longitude location I can calculate a distance to each job from a central location.  I can also calculate a distance from job to job.  Both interesting pieces of information but possibly not very helpful.

For this project I gave each job an urgency with the first four jobs having an urgency of 1,2,3 and 4.  The balance of my 10 jobs I assigned an urgency of 5.  My grid sorts on urgency so that the most urgent job will show first.  But what about the 6 jobs with the same urgency?  Having a distance from a central location isn’t going to help plan the best route from job to job.  Also having a distance from job to job isn’t going to help unless we sort those jobs based on the shortest distance between jobs.

Mobile apps for small business, tools to build small business applications
In order to do this we take our last location which was Job 4 and have a look at the balance of jobs that need completing.  Out of the 6 jobs we have left we calculate the shortest distance to one of those jobs from our last location and set that job as the next Route Priority.  We then look at the balance of jobs once again, now 5 jobs, and calculate the shortest distance, and so one until we’ve completed the route.

How to build web apps for small business

Thanks to Alpha Anywhere, we can calculate the most efficient route for a given number of waypoints.

Easiest way to build apps for small business

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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi

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