Monday, August 14, 2017

How To Use Our App Area Directories

Have you been wondering how to get the best out of our Area Directories? Have you wondered why we have them organized the way we do? There actually is a lot of method to the madness and it's high time we break it down for you. Here is how it all works and why.

First, Pick an Area to get started.

The South of Seoul Area directories are organized by Administrative Districts. This is the Korean term for things like counties, boroughs, or parishes. Often the Administrative District also contains a city or town of the same name. This can be confusing. Just like the USA has New York, NY, Korea has Pyeongtaekdong, Pyeongtaeksi. It's important to know what Administrative district you live in order to get started.

The Asan-si Administrative District borders Pyeongtaek to the south and southwest. It doesn't have many large towns and cities but it does have excellent cultural sites, outdoor parks, hiking, and a cool tourist area called Crystal Village that's built to resemble a Mediterranean town. Since it's northern border is near Camp Humphreys, the Asan Directory is very useful to those that live in Paengseong, Pyeongtaek.

Cheonon is a special kind of district for large cities and it borders Pyeongtaek to the South on the eastern side. It is a larger city with excellent shopping and fewer crowds than Suwon or Seoul. Cheonan also has lovely hiking, scenic areas, nightlife, arts programs, festivals, and COSTCO! Subways and trains run between Cheonan and Pyeongtaek until late at night.

Pyeongtaek-si is the Administrative district that contains both the USA Camp Humphreys Army base and Osan Air Base. These bases are located about 30 minutes from each other in two different towns. This is the epicenter of South of Seoul's activities. Due to the fact Pyeongtaek contains two US military bases it has many foreign restaurants.

Second, decided how you want to look for things.

There are a variety of issues that make organizing our Area Databases difficult. Here are some of the variables that make it hard to follow traditional western database structures:

  • Two alphabets
  • Two languages
  • Multiple cultures

Due to these issues there is no perfect solution and we can't simply use a simplified "search".  A new user can't do a blind search for what they have never heard or don't know how to spell.  Newbies need a way of seeing what's in their neighborhood without having to go outside and roam the streets. This is why we created our a-typical organizational method that uses three systems: Search, Neighborhood, and Spotlight.

Search:  Use this to quickly find if we have what you are familiar with.
The fastest way to get started is by using the search field. You can enter keywords or restaurant names. Remember, not everything from your home country is available here so sometimes this can feel frustrating. Sometimes what you want isn't available the way you want it and you need to explore information to find a substitute. That's why we also have created the following Directories and don't simply rely on a fancy search button.

Food & Fun: Learn about new tasty and interesting things by neighborhood.
So your search didn't work out like you had hoped because what you want to do isn't in the area, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to do or eat. There are just DIFFERENT things to do or eat in Korea and the South of Seoul team organized the Food & Fun directories to help you become better acquainted with new things close by. Scrolling through neighborhoods will help you understand the unique things Korea offers that you will soon fall in love with and miss when you go home. 

Spotlight: Meeting Your Immediate/Critical Needs by Topic
When you live in a foreign country dealing with a new language can make meeting basic human needs surprisingly difficult. When you need groceries, you just want groceries, and you don't want to stress about anything else.  That is why we have created needs based directories that are area wide. We don't sort these by neighborhood because you need to IMMEDIATELY know about ALL the hospitals in Pyeongtaek and not just the ones near you. Here is how to make the most out of these Spotlight Directories:

Once you have found the directory that meets your needs. Click on the map icon. You can find it on the top right of the screen in iPhone. This shows you where you are (the blue dot) and where all the grocery stores we have entered are, compared to you. You can click on the red dots to see the name of the grocery and to click through to directions.

Now that you know how we have organized our directories, here is a quick look at how listings end up in the app.

South of Seoul is not a commercial app. It is a locally based volunteer organization that crowd sources information so we are always in need of your help. We gather information from users via submissions through our online form and via the Pyeongtaek Food & Fun Facebook group. From the submissions we chose places that are:

  • of exceptional quality
  • offer something unique
  • have special social relevance or something foreigners crave

We also focus our attention on independent businesses and do not not list most franchise businesses, unless of course they have social relevance or meet a special foreigner need.

Our directories will never be an exhaustive list of every single thing in Pyeongtaek. We don't have billions of dollars like Google or Facebook. We have no paid listings nor paid advertising. We are not supported by either the USA military or the Korean government. We are entirely independent and everything we do is for the betterment of the community. Volunteers use their own equipment and resources to create South of Seoul while also working and caring for families.