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Expose Geographical, Location Specific Information about Documents and List Items in SharePoint 2013

In the final section of his presentation at the SharePoint 2012 Conference, Asif Rehmani demonstrated how the new, out of the box field type for SharePoint 2013, “Geolocation” can be used to expose location information about documents in SharePoint 2013 Libraries, and items included in lists. Like any other field type, a SharePoint site column (not to mention a term set) called “Geolocation” can certainly be produced as a method of sorting specific locations for easy identification by users via SharePoint search. Each location will appear as a discrete term within the “Geolocation” term set. As well, each location will be listed within the column, and, thereby, users will be able to filter views of information based upon specific geographical location. We think this feature will prove to be highly useful for enterprise businesses with lots of retail locations, as well as other organizations for whom information about geographical location is important.

Asif Rehmani notes that a server administrator will have to use Power Shell to add the Geolocation field to SharePoint 2013. We found information on the MSDN web site that will likely prove useful to organizations looking to find out further information about the range of capabilities offered by this geography feature. Interested parties should visit Integrating location and map functionality in SharePoint 2013 on the MSDN site to learn more.

Specific Visual Studio directions on How to: Add a Geolocation column to a list programmatically in SharePoint 2013 are also available on MSDN. Finally, as Asif Rehmani notes in his presentation, the Geolocation field can be added with the Power Shell. We found instructions on How to add a Geolocation field to SharePoint 2013 lists using powershell, which will likely prove useful to readers looking to implement this feature with the Power Shell.

The contact list for which a Geolocation column is to be provided, in this final section of Asif Rehmani’s presentation, is added to SharePoint 2013 as a new App. The Geolocation column is added to this list App as a Site Column by using the browser. The first click is on the SharePoint 2013 ribbon, on the “list” tab. From the “list” tab one can either click on “create Column”, or, as Asif demonstrates, one can click on “List Settings”. From the “List Settings” page, one can specify that a new Column can be added from an existing site column, which is precisely the route that Asif takes in his presentation. The column we need is to be found in the “Custom Columns” group (once the field has been enabled), and is named “Location.” Users can verify that the column has been successfully added to the list by going back out to the List Settings page and verifying that a column “Location” has been added with “Geolocation” as its description.

Once the column is added, as names are added to the contact list in Asif Rehmani’s presentation, an option appears to add a geographical location (specific latitude and longitude details) for the name. Once the coordinates have been added to the entry, SharePoint 2013 provides a Bing geographical information system (GIS) representation of the location, which is appended to the record.

Once the Geolocation field has been added, a new view option is added to SharePoint 2013, called “Map View”. If users select “Map View,” then SharePoint data (whether a list like the contact list included in Asif Rehmani’s presentation, or documents that may have been created at different geographical locations) are numbered and depicted in a GIS view.

In sum, this new feature of SharePoint 2013 is likely to be very popular with businesses that operate within geographically sensitive parameters (for example, local retail locations) or organizations that depend upon location information (these types of organizations in the public sector are best typified by law enforcement and/or public health groups).

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.