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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Facebook has launched its long anticipated location-based networking app called Facebook "Places." According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, Places was designed to do three things:

  • Share your location
  • See who’s around you
  • Discover new places and where you want to go

Zuckerberg said he was keen on allowing Facebook users to have serendipitous meetings, share moments in their life by leaving messages at certain locations, and see what messages friends have left behind.

Is this much different than what we see now from other social networking apps? Well, apparantly not because Facebook also introduced that some of its partners that will be helping the company and its Facebook users to bring value to sharing location-based information. On stage with Zuckerberg and Facebook product manager Michael Sharon were Scott Raymond, Gowalla co-founder, Holger Luedork from Foursquare, Eric Singley from Yelp and Keith Lee, the CEO of Booyah. The objective to integrate all of these social networking apps that already employ location-based "check-ins" into Facebook and allow Facebook users to leverage the gaming or communication aspect of those platforms. If you are a Foursquare user and you want to check in somewhere, you can simultaneously broadcast your location and message via Facebook as well. This is similar to what you can do now with Foursquare where you can broadcast your location and Tweet it at the same time.

As for the privacy issue, Facebook addresses this by setting default privacy settings high (opt in and less sharing as a starting point) and to "opt in" or share their location when they want to. See the Wall Street Journal’s Walter Mossberg and his assessment of the privacy controls since he obviously had a "heads-up" on Facebook’s announcement.

When you "check-in" with Facebook, you are presented with a "newsfeed" or notes from others, friends and those who’ve made their notations public, who have been there previously. And you can upload photos, Flickr-like, with a location tag.

Someone asked Zuckerberg about monetization now that location was embeded. His answer was less than specific. They’re "looking at it" was basically their response.

My take: I couldn’t be less impressed. Most of the news conference that was broadcast live at about 5:20 p.m. PT (nearly an hour after it was scheduled) was confusing and disjointed. Facebook, by allowing the other location-based social net players into their domain has just created a scenario for a bar room brawl between Yelp, Gowalla, Booyah and Foursquare, essentially saying "may the best ‘check in’ win." As the 800 lb. social net app in the world, Facebook has the luxury of gathering its minyons of newly annointed location-based "friends" to test how this whole location thing will play out. Facebook is "Google-like" in its approach to location. In short, Facebook "punted" on location. The company didn’t know quite how to respond to the competition (Foursquare, loopt, et.al.) so it let others into its sandbox to duke it out. Will Facebook Places 2.0 be better?

by Joe Francica on 08/18 at 08:26 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

According to the Wall Street Journal, demographics and location, in addition to politics and scandal, are shaping the race for New York’s 15th Congressional District, a seat held by Charlie Rangel (D). In an article published today, the WSJ shapes the race based on the fact that there are more retailers, more non-white Hispanic voters and more home ownership. What had once had an African-American majority is slowly changing and becoming more multi-racial. See also a map of the Harlem-centered district.

by Joe Francica on 08/18 at 05:11 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Update: James Fee has a review.

—- original post——

It’s called iExtMap and is from Mekansal:

iExtMap is a mobile GIS Viewer for IPhone, IPod Touch and IPad devices. It is a free viewer for ArcGIS Server, WMS and KML/GeoRSS. Users can also see static map tiles with iExtMap.

iExtmap can be seen as a extension to ExtMap, which is an award winning geo framework. iExtMap is same as ExtMap which are all both based on Google Maps API, so you can access your layers on Google Road map or Satellite map.

There is also a bookmarking feature to remember the screens. The layers and bookmarks are saved to your device and you can access them anytime.

Coming soon (will help you decide if it’s helpful now):

- Identify (in next release)
- Query (in next release)
- Measurement (in next release)
- Open Street Maps (in next release)
- WMS improments (in next release)

via @bflood (works with Arc2Earth)

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/18 at 11:05 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst is apparently a “comic-book crime fighting franchise” that offers “a tower defence game that has you fending off the game’s shambling, mutant freaks by dropping down a base, some turrets and other units.” (Sorry not a gamer!) Now the interesting bit: the Windows Phone 7 version “will asses your current location and grab your local area from the company’s Bing map collection. Roads and alleyways become paths for enemies to travel down, and building tops are perfect locations for weaponry.”

Expect it later this year.

- Pocket Gamer

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/18 at 07:24 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In Fort Wayne, IN the weed inspectors are getting laptops so they can identify the addresses and owners of properties with weed issues via a GIS. Sometimes tracking down the owner for such an issue is the first a bank knows of ownership due to the high rate of foreclosures. Weeds are an early warning system!

- Indiana News Center

CommonSpace — a web app now in “Preview” that helps those in Philadelphia find under the radar places and events soft launched last Friday. It’s a joint project between Azavea, the nonprofit tech consultant NPower, the Sustainable Business Network and a handful of other partners, and funded by the William Penn Foundation. Among the app’s abilities is a tool to find a good place for two people at different locations to meet. “On the site, I entered mine and my colleague’s address, our preferred modes of transportation and the amount of time we were willing to travel. I filtered restaurants that are a part of SBN’s network. And low and behold, a cafe neither of us knew: Essene Market & Cafe, on South 4th Street.” This write up describes how the site came to be, plus a good deal of the tech behind it. Apparently its built on OpenStreetMap but rendered on Google Maps.

- Tech Philly

A study released Monday details the who, where and when of pedestrian fatalities in New York City. It’s to be used as a road map (ok, officials call it a Rosetta Stone) for redesigning several areas of the city with new road furniture, signage, countdown clocks and the like.

- WSJ

The Boston Globe did a story asking basically “Is there a map of handicapped parking spaces in the city?” After a lengthy discussion of the nature of HP parking (I know about it, having had Mom in wheelchair for 15 years), the answer:

Where can Reilly find a map of Boston’s HP spots? Alas, it doesn’t exist. If you want to know where handicapped spots are, you have to call the Boston Transportation Department with specific street names and numbers.

Cambridge parking officials, however, say they’ll be posting exactly such a map on their city website within the next few months.

And Dougan, among others, was so impressed with Reilly’s question that he said his office will look into whether such maps, though challenging to create, could be generated for the entire state.

- Boston Globe

Madison, AL now has its GIS online. Looks like ESRI Web ADF.

- Madison County Record

Bonus Tidbit (not quite local, though):

How do those websites tell you what broadband or pay TV options are available for your location? An article highlights how two competitors do it and the pitfalls, including lack of interoperability of systems and timely data.

- Cable360.net

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/18 at 06:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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