The state of mapping APIs

The state of mapping APIs

Mobile, utility and server-side development will define the future of maps.

Map APIs took off in 2005, and during the ensuing years the whole notion of maps has changed. Where once they were slick add-ons, map functionality is now a necessary — and expected — tool. In this piece, Adam DuVander looks at the current state of mapping and he explains how mobile devices, third-party services and ease of use are shaping the map development world.

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Facebook Places plays nice with Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla and Booyah

Facebook Places plays nice with Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla and Booyah

In one move, Facebook appears to have both validated and claimed the check-in space. We take an early look at the functionality and impact of Facebook Places, the company's just-announced check-in / location tool.

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The State of the Internet Operating System

Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet? I’ve been talking for years about “the internet operating system“, but I realized I’ve never written an extended post to define what I think it is, where it is going, and the choices we face. This is that missing post.

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Joe Stump on data, APIs, and why location is up for grabs

Joe Stump on data, APIs, and why location is up for grabs

The SimpleGEO CTO and former Digg architect discusses NoSQL and location's future

I recently had a long conversation with Joe Stump, CTO of SimpleGeo, about location, geodata, and the NoSQL movement. Stump, who was formerly lead architect at Digg, had a lot to say. Here’s the highlights, you can find the full interview elsewhere on Radar.

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Four short links: 12 March 2010 Four short links: 12 March 2010

Four short links: 12 March 2010

Seasonal Colours, Fast Peripherals, Wikipedian-in-Residence, Location Abomination

  1. Flickr Flow — a “season wheel”, showing the relative popularity of colours in Flickr photos at different times of the year. Beautiful. (via gurneyjourney)
  2. Light Peak — optical peripheral cabling and motherboard connections. (via timoreilly on twitter)
  3. British Museum Pilots “Wikipedian in Residence”Liam’s underlying task will be to be to build a relationship between the
    Museum and the Wikipedian community through a range of activities both
    internally and public-facing
    . (via straup on Delicious)
  4. Twitter’s Location PolicyIf you chose to tweet with a place, but not to share your exact coordinates, Twitter still needs to use your coordinates to determine your Place. In order to improve the accuracy of our geolocation systems (for example, the way we define neighborhoods and places), Twitter will temporarily store those coordinates for 6 months. Because how could anything go wrong if there’s a database containing 6 months of my precise locations stored on the Internet even when I’ve chosen not to share my precise location? (via straup on Delicious)
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We're about to scratch the real-world data itch

We're about to scratch the real-world data itch

Mobile location tools will finally provide analytics from the physical realm

Folks in the web world are accustomed to granular information, yet brick-and-mortar businesses are still largely in the dark on the data front. But what if business owners could gather hard data? What if they could use that information to entice customers and adapt their offerings? Mobile location tools are poised to make this possible.

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Three lessons from the Chipotle iPhone app

Three lessons from the Chipotle iPhone app

How centralization, a defined use case, and a uniform menu shaped Chipotle's iPhone app

The iPhone app from Chipotle, the restaurant chain best known for its burritos, is an interesting mix of simple design, e-commerce functionality and location tools. Digging into the app's development reveals three aspects that could prove useful for businesses and programmers pursuing their own mobile paths.

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Foursquare wants to be the mayor of location apps

Foursquare wants to be the mayor of location apps

Dennis Crowley on Foursquare's gameplan and the secret sauce that drives the mobile service

Dennis Crowley cut his teeth on location services at mobile pioneer Dodgeball. Things didn't work out there, but he used his Dodgeball experience to shape Foursquare, an on-the-rise app that blends mobile, location awareness and a clever points system. In this Q&A, Crowley discusses Foursquare's revenue streams, its unexpected adaptations, and the one feature that gets new users hooked.

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Four short links: 13 November 2009 Four short links: 13 November 2009

Four short links: 13 November 2009

Open Source Design, Interesting NoSQL Use, Copyright Documentary, Location Intelligence

  1. Open Source Enters The World of Atoms — an academic statistical analysis of open design. We indicated that, in open design communities, tangible objects can be developed in very similar fashion to software; one could even say that people treat a design as source code to a physical object and change the object via changing the source.
  2. Why I Like Redis (Simon Willison) — coherent explanation of why Simon likes and uses a particular nosql system. I can run a long running batch job in one Python interpreter (say loading a few million lines of CSV in to a Redis key/value lookup table) and run another interpreter to play with the data that’s already been collected, even as the first process is streaming data in. I can quit and restart my interpreters without losing any data. And because Redis semantics map closely to Python native data types, I don’t have to think for more than a few seconds about how I’m going to represent my data.
  3. © kiwiright (Vimeo) — short documentary about copyright, made to raise awareness of the issues in New Zealand. (just as applicable to the rest of the world)
  4. Your Movements Speak For Themselves (Jeff Jonas) — Mobile devices in America are generating something like 600 billion geo-spatially tagged transactions per day. Every call, text message, email and data transfer handled by your mobile device creates a transaction with your space-time coordinate (to roughly 60 meters accuracy if there are three cell towers in range), whether you have GPS or not. Got a Blackberry? Every few minutes, it sends a heartbeat, creating a transaction whether you are using the phone or not. If the device is GPS-enabled and you’re using a location-based service your location is accurate to somewhere between 10 and 30 meters. Using Wi-Fi? It is accurate below10 meters. A thought-provoking roundup of the information leakage with modern locative systems. (via TomC on Twitter)
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Resetting Expectations: Some Augmented Reality Links

Mobile Devices and AR: Besides employing the location of users (Wikitude), there are generally two ways to overlay data onto the real world: through markers ( (2D) bar codes) or through automatic object/image recognition algorithms (“markerless”). The Economist gives a good overview of the different mobile applications that are starting to emerge and lists a few areas where AR makes sense such as shopping (letting house-hunters which properties are for sale) and events (giving sports fans access to stats and player bios).

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