SimpleGeo Makes Location Easy With Context and Places

Romin Irani
Dec. 28 2010, 10:03PM EST

If you are a Geo Developer and have been struggling to get access to location data that is of high quality and free, this news could be music to your ears. SimpleGeo, the location services platform, earlier this month announced two products that might just fit the bill and give you the location data on which you could easily build location based applications.

Geo Developers have been trying to get hold of location data available via public web services to conceptualize different applications that they could build on top of this data. SimpleGeo VP of Product Jeffrey Kalmikoff explained to us that it has been challenging because location developers want to play around with the data first and while doing that come up with applications to build on top of that data. However, as Kalmikoff explained, to do that you need access to data that is actually “free and open” and does not come with restrictive terms or even cost. And that is not the reality, as many geo developers would agree. By announcing the  SimpleGeo Context and SimpleGeo Places products, the company wishes to address that squarely and give access to Points of Interest and contextual location data free of cost to the developers.

SimpleGeo Context takes a latitude and longitude and provides relevant contextual information such as weather, demographics, or neighborhood data for that co-ordinate. An example API call from their documentation for a location that is inside AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA is:

http://api.simplegeo.com/1.0/context/37.778381,-122.389388.json

Try out the link and you will notice from the JSON response, the wealth of contextual information provided categorically like Region, County, City, Country, School District and much more.

SimpleGeo Places, which is a free database of business listings and Points of Interest (POI) that enables real-time community collaboration. You can search for places near a point by category or name. The format for invoking SimpleGeo Places is: http://api.simplegeo.com/1.0/places/{lat},{lon}.json

You can also provide additional parameters like query string, category and even a radius around your specificied latitude & longitude for the search results. For example, to search for Starbucks around a particular location, use the following query:

http://api.simplegeo.com/1.0/places/37.7645,-122.4294.json?q=Starbucks

SimpleGeo Places also adds a collaborative touch to the API by allowing you to Create, Get, Update and Delete a particular feature. To create a Feature to SimpleGeo Places, you can use the http://api.simplegeo.com/1.0/places endpoint and do a Post with a valid GeoJSON object. Refer to the documentation for full details.

SimpleGeo has probably changed the dynamics of Location based programming by providing features that Geo Developers have been asking for a long time and it is giving them away for free. If you are a Geo Developer, what do you think of these products?

Romin Irani Google Developer Expert Cloud 2014. Romin loves learning about new technologies and teaching it to others. Follow me on Google+

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