IOTA is a versatile protocol and its most common use is for transferring value through its native token. It can also be used to build standards atop of the base protocol. Examples of this include Masked Authenticated Messages and Flash Channels.

IOTA proposes a new standard to enable IOTA-based applications to be developed around geographic regions. The proposal is IOTA Area Codes (IACs). These are described as

“short, trite-encoded, location codes that can be used to tag and retrieve IOTA transactions related to specific locations.”

The codes are 10 trytes long and they represent an area of 13.5m by 13.5m area at the equator. They can also be smaller, such as 11 trytes long and represent 2.8m by 3.5m.

IACs represent Open Location Codes, alternative known as Plus Codes. This is significant because it enables identification of transactions as they pertain to a specific geographic area. The transactions may feature advertisements, sensor information, and other data formats as it relates to the location.

The process does require that users register their transactions with a centralized service, such as a data marketplace that can identify and collect locations and provide them to customers.

According to IOTA,

“The original OLC protocol is able to accurately represent areas on the globe by using 5 pairs of characters. Each pair of characters added to the code represent a 400x increase in accuracy. A side effect of the code being determined by sequential set of pairs, rather than a unique code, is we are able to vary the accuracy by removing pairs from right to left. This allows us to ingest and store the pairs in a way that we can query some what efficiently. So by querying the initial 4 trytes of tags, that match the correct IAC format, we can find transactions in a 100km by 100km area.”

Looking forward, IOTA is working to be a catalyst for the community and it recognizes that the current format can be better. The platform encourages users to visit Github and create pull requests that can be used to improve the code or to provide suggested examples.

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