Friday, August 04, 2006

Goodbye Map&Guide, hello Google Geocoder

Geocoding is an important function for transportation planning (for distance calculation in transport optimization). SAP SCM comes with a geocoding tool called Map&Guide that is far from what can be considered an industrial strength geocoder. It's true that for normal transportation planning there is no need to have street level accuracy, but it's not difficult to find cases where the M&G gives coordinates very far away from the target. Not a wrong street, I mean a wrong continent (one that I could never understand was why some Moscow locations were geocoded in the US).

Recently Google released a geocoding service (as part of google maps). Well, Yahoo already had such a service, but only available for US, AFAIK. On the other hand, the service from Google works with many european countries.

Using the service is as simple as making an HTTP call (example). Making an HTTP call is also simple in ABAP (example). And making a geocoder wrapper object for SCM is not very hard (it's just copying the standard CL_GEOCODER_SAP0 object and using the HTTP call instead of the table reads).

Humm ... something to be tried one of these days.

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