LocalWiki Launches New API: Bridging the Gap Between Local Knowledge and Local Data

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
Sep. 06 2012, 11:00AM EDT

LocalWiki is an open-content, open-source online platform that provides communities the ability to share local knowledge, news, history, media and other content.

Several focus communities have been using the LocalWiki platform for quite some time now. The Davis Wiki has become one of the world's largest and most vibrant community wikis with nearly half of Davis residents using the wiki every month. The Santa Cruz Wiki currently contains over 5400 pages, 4300 photos, and 2700 maps making it the largest LocalWiki focus community so far.

The vision of LocalWiki is "Collaborative local media in every community," or as stated on the official LocalWiki Website:

"Ultimately, we hope that LocalWiki can be thought of as an API for the city itself. A bridge between local data and local knowledge. Between the quantitative and the qualitative aspects of community life."

In keeping with this goal, LocalWiki has just released the first version of the LocalWiki API, making it very easy for developers to build applications using information pulled from the LocalWiki platform.

The LocalWiki API is already being used in several applications including RGreenway (the winning project at CityCamp Raleigh) a mobile app that helps residents find local greenways. It is also being used in a mobile app that is in development by Wanderful that "teaches residents about their local history as they wander through town."

LocalWiki

RGreenway is an iOS mobile application that uses the LocalWiki API.
Image Credit: https://trianglewiki.org/RGreenway_App

For additional information, please visit the LocalWiki Development Website or read the API Documentation. Below is some technical information about the LocalWiki Platform and the API:

  • Platform is a Django-based mostly Python project and the code is available for download on GitHub.
  • Platform is available as a prebuilt package for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS or newer (at the time of this writing)
  • API is RESTful, read/write with advanced geospatial capabilities
  • API follows the conventions of Django-Tastypie
  • API supports JSON, XML, YAML, JSONP, and plist (binary plist) data formats.
  • Advanced geospatial support has been integrated into the API

Since this is the first version of the LocalWiki API, future updates will include improvements, new features and will be streamlined based on examples of real-world usage.

It will be exciting to see the types of applications that developers create using the LocalWiki API.

Janet Wagner Janet is a data journalist and full stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, open data, data visualization and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @webcodepro and on Google+

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