Google Maps have become the gold standard for directing patients to your practice on the internet. Google allows you to use their maps on your own website free of charge to show the location of your practice on an interactive map which has seen a massive uptake of this technology.
"Google Maps are fantastic," said Joseph Allbeury, publisher of the Your Dentist online find-a-dentist service located at
www.dentist.com.au, "and naturally, we built the new version of www.dentist.com.au to take advantage of this technology to make it even easier for patients to find-a-dentist.
"Now, when you search for a dentist, the search results page includes a map showing the location of all the practices found. In addition, when you click on a practice to see more information, the location of the practice is also shown on a Google Map.
"The typical way that you use Google Maps is that you 'parse' the street address of a dental practice to the Google mapping interface and it returns the location on a Google Map. In general, this works very well. The one problem, however, is that the
location it shows on the map is not necessarily 100% accurate.
"If, for example, your practice is part of a shopping complex, then the Google Map returned will only show the location of the shopping complex itself, not the location of your practice within the complex. Even if you include shop or unit numbers in the address, Google cannot process this information.
"When we designed the new Your Dentist website, we decided early on that rather than sending Google a street address of a practice to map, we would instead send the latitude and longitude of the practice to return a map with the 'pin' precisely positioned.
"The problem we now have is the same one that Google has," Mr Allbeury said. "We have initially set the latitude and longitude for all practices based on their street address, which, as mentioned already, may not be 100% accurate.
"So we're now asking all practices to visit www.dentist.com.au
and ensure they are correctly positioned on the map. If your location is not 100% accurate, you can now login to the Dental Community website at www.dentalcommunity.com.au, click on the name of your practice and scroll down to the map. This shows where we 'think' your practice is located. If that is wrong, then you simply click on the correct location on the map to indicate where your practice is located, click save and it is set in our system."
Access to the Dental Community is free and open to all dental practitioners. For more info, see www.dentalcommunity.com.au.