Introduction to Places
Places are, as the name implies, specific points on the map that Users have saved to their ecosystem in order to be accessed, referenced, viewed, and utilized with other features. Places store various types of information in the portal, including, but not limited to the following:
- Points of interest
- Customer addresses
- Facilities locations
- Route origins, stops, and endpoints
- Specific reported positions or events
- Incident details
Places are static objects, and their properties are tied directly to their function as data storage entities.
- Lat/Lng: every place must have a location to be displayed on the map view, and the coordinates can be input manually, searched for, or input by clicking the map.
- Name: to be displayed everywhere the Place is viewed or referenced by other features
- Description: optional field that gives users the ability to store additional information with the Place, such as notes about relevant occurrences, gate codes, or important pieces of information relevant to the location
- Color: helps users identify Places on the map view and find them quickly in the List Panel
Displays a list of Users that have access to the Place. Users with a green check next to their name can access the Place when logged into the portal.
Ways to Add Places
Places can be created in a number of ways, and each method typically involves use of another feature in the portal.
Add by Address
In the traditional Add Place flow, when it asks for the location of the Place, users can search for any address, and it will populate the Lat/Lng for that location if it can be found. Users can also try searching for names of popular attractions or locations, and in many cases, the portal will be able to convert those names into addresses and coordinates.
Add by Lat/Lng
Users can input the coordinates of the Place they wish to add to the portal, and it will look up the location and save it as a place.
Add by Map
In the traditional Add Place flow, when it asks for the location of the place, users can click on the map, and the portal will populate the Lat/Lng and Address of the specified location.
Add from Position
One of the Quick Actions available to users is the ability to save a reported Position as a Place. Users can do this by opening any position on the map, reported by any asset at any time, and from the Quick Actions (dot menu), select Add as Place.
Add from KML
Please see the Feature article on Importing Places and Geofences for details about importing large batch files of Places from KML.
Once created, Places will be visible on any map view unless the user toggles them off, and whether visible or not, users will be able to use them with other features like Geofences, Alerts, Get Route, Waypoints, Trips, Journeys, Reports, and Shared Views. Users can edit and manage the visibility of Places in the Places module, which is part of the Main Navigation Panel.
Places in the List Panel
In the Places module, Places appear as a list of names in the List Panel. Places are static data elements, and therefore have no dynamic notifications to display. Users can toggle the visibility of the Place, click the name of the Place to snap the Map interface to it, or they can select the Cog icon to open the Place Options tab.
Places in the Details Panel
Places have limited functional components in the Places Module, and mostly work with other features in the portal.
At the top of the panel, users will find navigational options as well. The name of the selected Place will appear in a drop-down menu, which allows users to jump between Places. Left and Right arrows also allow users to move between Places in the order in which they appear in the List Panel.
Users have the ability to open the Get Route Tool by clicking the Route Asset button from the Place Options panel. For more information, see Get Route.
Edit Place: allows users to make changes to the properties of the selected Place
Delete Place: allows users to remove the Place from the portal
Places on the Map Interface
Places will appear on any Map interface if their visibility is toggled on. They will appear as small dotted circle icons of whichever color has been selected for them by the User.
Each Place will appear in its exact geolocation based on the Coordinates stored with it in the ecosystem. When not selected, users will see only the icon.
When expanded or clicked, Places will open a Summary Panel over the Map Interface that will display all saved information about that place to the User.
Places and Other Features
Places are static data elements that primarily serve as reference locations for visualization and for interaction with other features like Alerts, Routing, and Reports. Places are also the best way to store individual Data Points that are significant for quick reference in the future.
The majority of ways in which people can interact with Places involve their location characteristics. The Get Route tool allows users to route Assets to the Place, and a number of Reports use the location data of a given Place as a reference or filtering criteria. Whether or not Assets are near a place can filter Reports like Asset Location Reports and Asset Movement Reports.
Places and Routing
The most frequently-used tool with Places will be the Route Asset tool, which allows users to set the Place as an endpoint on a route, and then select any Asset in the portal to generate the route between the two. The easiest way to route an Asset to a Place is to open the Place from the List Panel in the Places Module, click the gear icon to expand the Details Panel, and click the Route Asset option from the tools panel. This will open the Get Route Tool with the Place populated, and a drop-down box to select the Asset to be routed. Users will have the option of routing via roads or by direct path (air or water travel).
Other Place-based routing tools can be found in the Quick Actions (dot menu) on the Information Panel for any Place. These options include Route Asset, which will open the same form as above, as well as Route From and Route To. These options will open a separate tool that is used to generate a route to or from a place whose other endpoint is not the location of an Asset. This allows users to generate, for example, routes between multiple Places, or routes to a Place from an airport, or a number of other use scenarios. Users can also select Measure Distance To, which will open the Ruler Tool with the Place populated as one of the endpoints for a straight-line distance measurement.
Places and Reports
Users have the ability to use Places as a filter in the creation of Reports. Certain Reports, like the Asset Location Report, give users the option to filter the inclusions according to which are near or not near a particular Place.
The Places Feature is a very basic and essential core component of a tracking portal, but has some potential for advanced use cases and additional opportunities for increased leverageable return on investment if designed appropriately. Because of this, Places have been designed in a way that allows them to be viewed on the map and also used by routing tools because of a unique referenced location attribute.
In anticipation of users wanting to use Places to store additional information, such as one specific reported position of any Asset, or an incident pertaining to that Asset, Places has also been designed with plain text fields that can be used to store any kind of information, like dates, times, and descriptions of the position or incident. Additionally, the Places feature has been given the ability to host a photo so that any user with access to the Place can add photos for reference or access them when necessary.
Places have also been designed to include administrative security measures, which means they can be assigned to specific users and hidden from others. This allows Places to be storage objects for a number of different types of information with varying degrees of organizational sensitivity and clearance requirements. Access control of Places also establishes accountability measures that can be used in large organizations that have a number of levels of information security requirements.
Maximizing the ROI of Places
Asset Routing is a major feature of any top tier telematics visualization platform, and represents one of the highest value feature sets in terms of return on investment. Giving asset managers the ability to route any asset to any location is a critically important management tool, and the Places feature is a massive component when it comes to increasing the efficiency of those processes and eliminating the risk of routing mistakes. When routing Assets, being able to select a validated location from a list of destinations saved to the portal as Places will save time and give managers the peace of mind that there won’t be any errors related to identifying the correct destination.
While routing is one of the most ubiquitously used ways to extract ROI from places, some customers have also employed Places to store critical information in the portal that can be accessed by users during an emergency or as part of a standard security measure. These users will create a Place in the portal, and then either attach a photo that includes the necessary information, or include the information in the description of the Place. Because Places have the ability to be user-restricted, Administrators can give access to this information only to specific users and only when they need to do so. This use case has been employed by a number of clients as part of a fail-safe system in which a triggered event directs a permitted user to open the indicated Place to find protocol information.
Adding Photos to Places
The Photo attribute of Places can also be used to store photos of anything, including the Place itself, related incident photos, or any relevant information that users don’t want to store in text format.