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wgtube.jpgPlaceopedia is yet another example of a couple of growing trends: the integration of online data resources with online mapping; and the drive to make urban environments "smart."

As with most of the map-mashups, Placeopedia uses Google Maps, this time mixing it with (as the name suggests) Wikipedia. The concept here is that users can add links at Placeopedia to relevant pages on Wikipedia, allowing users to browse the interesting bits of trivia or useful local information appropriate to a given spot. There's already a decent mix of the two, at present, with both transit maps and tourist highlights easy to find.

Granted, one could simply use Wikipedia to look up a given location, but one key value of a map-based interface is that it provides an immediate sense of the context, a look at what's around the corner or the proximity of the nearest mass transit stop. The real win, of course, would be to make certain that Placeopedia is accessible to mobile web-enabled devices. Being able to look up a spot you're about to go to before you leave is handy; being able to look up a spot you've discovered quite by accident would be wonderful.

Placeopedia is relatively new, and depends on visitors to add appropriate links between locations and Wikipedia articles. This means that the coverage is spotty, with lots about some places (such as London), and little or nothing about others (such as Las Vegas). Beyond better coverage, I'd also like to see how well it could integrate with a concept like the Location-Based Wikipedia idea, which would integrate cameraphones and urban tagging schemes into an open urban informatics model.

(Via Smart Mobs)

Comments (7)

Daniel Haran:

Both PlaceoPedia and its sister project YourHistoryHere syndicate all their data. Integration for mobile devices is guaranteed. If no one else does it, I WILL. Because the information is syndicated (and free as in speech) it should be trivially easy to do, especially if your mobile device has GPS or otherwise knows its location.

They are both projects of mysociety.org, who you might remember from some of their other projects, including pledgebank.com

Now is an exciting time for meta-data on the net. geobloggers.com is adding location data to syndicated Flickr photos. Sites like upcoming.org are making available event data.

I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. The examples that are given, and the first few prototypes (friend finders, online dating, advertising) are all interesting, but we might not be able to imagine the "killer app" quite yet.

There is one thing I am certain about: open data is a trend that is growing. Open informatics appears inevitable, even as we do not know precisely what it will look like.

I thought DenCity and yellowarrow were already doing something like this. Yet, they're more location oriented blogging.

I guess this is the transition step before we enter into an augmented reality. There has to be information in place to attract people before an AR infrastructure is put in place for everyone to use.

It would be great to extend this to natural features of a place. If there were an "Amateur Natural Science Panopticon", with place-based observations of natural phenomena, we could really extend our knowledge of this planet.

How long before cameras have g.p.s and can tell you where (as well as when) a photo was taken. I'd like to look through other peoples pictures of places I've been - see the changes through seasons etc!

Daniel Haran:

Daniel Johnston: two of those cameras already exist, but they are expensive.

There are several ways in which we might get the same result. If you have a GPS, you can correlate the timestamps from the cam and GPS (a hack explained in O'Reilly Mapping Hacks). Geobloggers has facilities to do that. Even if a cell phone could locate itself, I imagine you would still be able to do the same thing.

Ben Wilson:

check out NASA World Wind for some of this. Trouble is, IKONOS and Microsoft have access to the most recent, commercially available views.

I'd imagine that NASA/NOAA etc. will soon have to give over their available images as soon as people realize that they already paid for them, the sat's that took the images, the planes and ortho equipment. It's all ours.

Next to that , it seems like an intelligent parsing of existing web data (googling for placenames?) will be crucial to localizing information.

People will not likely go make pointers to all of the places that they are blogging about. What about a story that covers multiple days and places? It shouldn't be too hard to look for these travel journals online, find placenames associated in proximity to time/date information and show you stories/pictures/etc. associated with the area. Even books that reference the spot or describe it in detail as far as history and geology etc. are concerned.

Phone blogging is coming and this will set a lot of things in motion too.


Did you already see Panoramio.com?


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