Introducing Georacle: Spatial Data on the Blockchain and Why it Matters
Location. Location. Location.
It’s no secret that location powers practically every useful application that we interact with on the web today. From ride-sharing and vacation rentals to social media and online dating, location has proven essential to fostering digital ecosystems that rely on geospatial data to develop an understanding of the outside world. Entire industries dedicated to innovating around the application of geospatial data have emerged, where proprietary solutions like Google Maps offer state of the art map data generated from satellites and street-view cars, and opensource alternatives such as OpenStreetMap offer crowd-sourced map data of increasingly reliable quality.
What about Web3?
Blockchain-based ledger systems like Ethereum promise to bring about significant shifts in the landscapes of supply chain, energy markets, and mobility, all of which depend on accurate spatial data to function effectively. Native access to geospatial data is essential for creating decentralized applications (DApps) that address use cases like real estate, location-based games, and automated insurance. Given that location-based ecosystems exist on the traditional web today, how can we enable similar experiences to thrive on the blockchain?
The Oracle Problem
While smart contracts have some desirable properties on their own, their capacity is severely limited without the ability to interact with real-world data. The Oracle problem deals with providing a cryptographically verified bridge between a blockchain and the outside world. Oracle networks such as Chainlink and the Uma project aim to solve the problem by enabling “hybrid smart contracts” — smart contracts that can access external data without compromising the cryptographic assumptions of the underlying blockchain.
Georacle- A Geospatial Oracle
Georacle builds on top of these existing oracle solutions to provide smart contracts with access to the vast amounts of spatial data generated on the web today. Smart contracts can query location information, access geocoding services, and interact with area geometry directly on chain in a way that respects the space constrained nature of blockchain environments. Using Georacle location IDs, smart contracts can communicate location information and coordinate across space, creating an ecosystem with global implications.
As the demand for block space increases, optimizing gas consumption is of primary concern for the practical usage of DApps. The Georacle data model is well-suited for blockchain environments where data storage is at a premium, as contracts need only interact with objects that fit their desired description. DApp developers can simulate API requests off-chain to assess gas consumption while contracts can optimize for gas by fine-tuning their search space and determining the location data necessary to manipulate on chain.