Google Maps and the Community

Google Maps and its associated software allows you to create bespoke Geographical Information Systems (GIS). To create these applications a knowledge of JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, MYSQL and API leverage is essential. Geographical Information Systems can have a range of uses. As an individual I have developed systems orientated at conservation and more recently a GIS for Enthuse Care. I created a GIS designed to help the care company assess the viability of new clients in relation to their geographic location.

Travel Time and Care Work

There have been many documentaries and news articles recently over how travel time has an impact on the quality of care. It is possible,even though there has been a ruling relating to the Ruling Time Directive by the European Court, that domiciliary care workers do not get paid for travel time between clients. There have even been cases of care workers suing employers for forcing them to work under the pay guidelines detailed in the new national living wage requirements. There is more information in this article in the Independant.

A GIS for Enthuse Care

The problems that relate to travel time can also have adverse effects on the quality of care delivered. If people feel they are doing something for nothing they are less inclined to be as interested in what they are doing. As highlighted in a recent Dispatches report they might even miss care appointments. Anyway what happens is that private care companies are passed clients as potential contracts from the local council. What enthuse care required was a system that would assess if these prospective clients fell into a certain radius around existing clients. If they fell into a region close to existing clients they could be considered viable for uptake by the company. If on the other hand they fell outside these regions the company would not take the client on board. This effectively has the potential to reduce the risk of friction between company and staff over travel time and indirectly has the latent ability to increase the quality of care.

How the Google Maps API Worked.

Data of existing clients was imported into the system as a file upload. Data of potential clients was imported separately. The postcodes of these individuals were geocoded using Googles Geocoding API. The resulting latitudes and longitudes were stored in a database table for further processing. MySQL has an ability to compare spatial data and to determine the proximity of two sets of data to each other. The latitudes and longitudes of potential clients were compared and if potential clients fell inside a certain radius they were assigned a colour. If they fell outside a radius they were assigned another colour. Arrays of processed data were created and encoded into JSON (JavaScript Object Notation). These JSON arrays were then processed by JQuery and JavaScript in the internet browser. A Google Map was rendered using Google Maps JavaScript API. A Library called Geolib from Github was used to find the center point of all the rendered data. Each prospective point plotted had an opaque circle around it. If existing clients fell into this radius the circle was green.