TownMe Launches Read/Write Location Data API

Adam DuVander
Oct. 21 2009, 02:09AM EDT

Your next geo app is going to be easier to build. Instead of running your own database and collecting geographic data yourself, you can build on top of TownMe and its newly-launched read/write Geo API (tech details at our TownMe API profile).

The readable portion of the API contains business listing information, including meta-data like hours of operation and descriptive tags. Finding businesses that fit specific criteria near a given point is as close as an API call. Want an open karaoke bar near your location? Easy.

TownMe location check-in demo

TownMe data could support the efforts of location sharing services, as well. In terms of the amount of information provided, TownMe rivals the Shizzow API. Foursquare, a much more popular service only available in a handful of cities, has focused on its mobile apps, rather than opening the underlying data.

With Twitter going geo, TownMe could save us from a future of reading coordinates. Rather than displaying latitude and longitude values, hopefully applications will choose to show a descriptive neighborhood or city name. Along with business listing information, TownMe also provides boundary data for a point, including its name and the coordinates that make up its border. This feature alone is worth getting excited about.

Then there are the writeable features. TownMe allows developers to insert data about locations into their own private "layer." Founder Elad Gil explained in an email why this is exciting:

"If you are writing an augmented reality game and want to
hide a ghost at a bar in San Francisco, you can write the ghost to the
bar using the API and all your users will find it there. This
information will be stored on our servers, which means all these
interactions could literally be written in Javascript without you
touching additional server code."

These sorts of features are what could also come from the Google Maps database. We have services to geocode and create maps, so now we need ways to provide geographic information about an area and store data. With TownMe's API it has made a big step to providing those features and more.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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