Use APIs to Explore Your Town

Alex Stone
Aug. 17 2010, 04:12PM EDT

APIs have certainly enriched our lives. Thanks to some clever mashups, we are able to share and connect with nearly everyone and everything all over the planet. But what about the world right around you? How can APIs make your own town more connected and provide some rich services to its tax-paying citizens?

Location & Check-in Information

With the boom of location services like Foursquare, people checking in all over the place, sharing all kinds of interesting information. With some clever querying and combining of this data, you could easily have a list of popular spots in town, as we saw with the MisoTrendy mashup. This kind of information could be handy for new people and people who are looking for something new. This information could also be used to generate a list of new spots in town worth checking out.

MisoTrendy

Making Twitter Useful

TwitterSocial networks are becoming the best way to find out what's on everyone's mind and see what everyone is talking about. With Twitter's geotagged tweets, it would be really easy to gather up all the tweets for a given area. You see where I'm going with this. Have a collection of tweets is fairly useless by itself, but you could easily go a step further and build a list of trending topics for a given area. As with the location data, this tool would be great to see what's going down in your area.

Your Town, in Picture

FlickrUnless you live in a vast, empty, post-apocalyptic wasteland (in which case, good job getting an Internet connection), your town is likely pretty scenic. No? Maybe you just don't know how scenic it is. Enter Flickr. Not only does Flickr offer up geotagged images, but you can even sort the by "interestingness."

Flickr isn't the only way you can dig up the coolest pictures people have taken in your town. You can even take this a step further, combining geolocation and timestamps, to match up images with Foursquare or a Gowalla event

So, we can see where to go and what everyone is talking about and even see corners of our city that we may not have seen before.

Alex Stone Virginia-based web developer. I'm into cool ideas and phones. You may recognize me from such mashups as Super DVD Robot! and the upcoming Twitter app, Birdcage.

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