Location Search for FileMaker and IWP Web Interface


This week we created a fantastic solution using FileMaker for a client that needed a Location Search added to their website. Their customers would call the the office and ask 'where are your locations in my city'. The locations were in their FileMaker database, but they had no way to make that information accessible to their customers.

So, we created a FileMaker IWP solution to allow their customers to search by City and State. Just to be clear, IWP stands for Instant Web Publishing. IWP automatically converts FileMaker layouts and scripts into interactive web pages. It's really amazing!

Normally, we would create a search page that would ask for a zipcode. The zipcode would be converted into an approximate Latitude and Longitude using a FileMaker table of close to 100,000 Zipcodes. Then based on a radius in miles, we would find all the locations that are positioned within the radius using a distance formula.

This time was a bit different. Our client wanted to have their customers search by their City and State such as, 'Orlando, FL'. The problem was what are the Latitude and Longitude for Orlando? There are close to 100 zipcodes for Orlando, so which one do you use? Well, we used all of them. We found that if we average all of the Orlando Latitudes and then average all of the Orlando Longitudes, we get close enough to the center of Orlando. It's not perfect, but it's close enough. Once we had the city center coordinates, we were able to find all the locations with in 25 miles of the customer.

While we could have gone out and found a list of city coordinates we just used what we had on hand.

The best part is that we had this implemented in our clients existing IWP site very quickly with no downtime.