Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Trend: User-Created: Geo Mapping

(According to Wikipedia)
Folksonomy, a portmanteau word combining "folk" and "taxonomy", refers to the collaborative but unsophisticated way in which information is being categorized on the web.

The boundless creative energies of individuals is fueling an explosion of API (open programming codes) repurposing (some consider it "hacking", "mashups", or "patching") to reformat the web, software apps and gadgets according to personal interests.

A number of companies, including, Amazon, Flickr, Google and Yahoo are opening up their API code and simply letting people play with it, change it, improve it, and publish the results for mass use., which tracks mashups and hacks, lists 149 APIs used by 374 mashups. All this user-created hacking is supplying some 2.63 hacks daily. Google Maps, with 195 sites, is by far the most popular, but Amazon (35), Yahoo Maps (33), Flickr (30), Microsoft's VirtualEarth (30), Delicious (19), eBay (15) and MSN Messenger (11) are all gaining acceptance. Other useful data feeds include weather and traffic information, events and calendar listings, and electronic programme information (TV listing). And I won't even go into Apple Widgets (a later post, I promise).

*NOTE: By the time you go here and check my math, I am certain the numbers will have increased!

What's most interesting is the principle behind masses of users recreating for themselves, and opening those creations for new creations - your creations. Further, this API hacking is not strictly for the professors, this is about the everyday 12 year old and bored office worker who simply wants a better web (or gadget). And think of all this API hacking in a context beyond mere programming nerdery, but consider it in the context of giving away elements of your brand, and letting people co-create with them and give them back as new and different interpretations.

Over the coming weeks, I will attempt to segment and categorize this API user-creation starting first with the trend of User-Created Geo-Mapping.
Google Maps, MSN Virtual Earth, Mapquest have made GPS satellite imagery and web-based street charting ubiquitous, while inviting all users to add their own cartographies of their worlds gone relevant. From fast food and transit maps, to crime and pub guides, the world is getting smaller (and digitised) as the collective eye scans and records reality thru varying filters.

Check out some of the best User-Created HackMaps below:

Garbage Scout - directs you to interesting garbage in NYC

Beer Mapping Project - charts the nearest brew city-to-city

Murder Maps - scenes of the crime charted for your reference (?) or entertainment (?)

News Headline Locator - charts headline news by geography (shouldn't this be a standard for most news reports?)

Hole In The Earth - for the times when you're drilling thru the center of the earth and need to know what is on the other side

Real-Time Commuter Train -also many variations for buses, shuttles, freight deliveries, etc

Ultimate Comic Shop Map - never miss another issue

Check these ongoing catalogs daily for the latest in user API Geo-Mapping hacks

**If you have some additional User-Created GeoMapping, get 'em to me!


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