Microformats help plan your vacation

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Microformats add generally accepted tags, such as social network connections or geodetic coordinates, to HTML pages. Automated scripts collect them and help represent the data in graphically appealing ways – for example, geodata for vacation destinations.

Fall! What a great season for hiking! The warm weather at the end of September offers ideal conditions in the United States to visit, for example, one of the 58 national parks and meet eye-to-eye with ponderous wildlife (Figure 1). The Wikipedia page “List of national parks of the United States” shows the parks in alphabetical order, describes the main attractions, and adds the latitude and longitude as geocoordinates to the HTML text as well.

Microformats have established themselves as an approach to making sure that these data are not just accessible to human web surfers who visit the Wikipedia page but also to automated applications. After all, traditionally encoded HTML markup does not include semantic information but mainly focuses on the presentation. For example, when a web page includes the address of a company, the name, street, city, and phone number are often only separated by line breaks. Search engines then need to guess whether this is an actual address and then extract the individual components.

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