This week I was at SxSW Interactive, for those that aren’t familiar it is a 5 day conference about new technology. I was there to be on a panel about “Interoperable Location Data” with Josh Babetski from Mapquest, Adam DuVander of Programmable Web, Scott Raymond from Gowalla and Tyler Bell of Factual. The premise of the panel was that many organizations are currently creating point of interest databases, but how do you combine them or allow them to interact?
What was interesting was the day before Foursquare made an announcement that fit directly into this premise. They began partnering with other organizations to link information between checkins and other services. You can see this in action on the the Thrillist section of Foursquare. If you notice there is a “More Info” link next to each of the displayed venues. The permise of this is you can then go read the Thrillist review of the venue and easily add it to your Foursquare to-do list. I think the idea of “pre-exploring” an area is interesting, meaning when I normally use Foursquare I tend to only use it when I am out and about. Sometimes I look to see where my friends are, other times I look for popular places to go. Combining the Foursquare information with other things allows me to explore from my desktop and plan to do things later. Other partners for this launch were The New York Times, New York Magazine and MenuPages. For the full Foursquare blog post look here.
So Foursquare has starting doing these integrations how can everyone do it? Services are emerging to crawl and collecting this data such as Factual and others are attempting to solve the problem on their own. The most idealist suggestion was to create a foundation to hold specific location information everyone would link to. This was suggested as a possibility within our SxSW panel, but I think everyone agrees it would likely be impractical. I’m excited to see how GeoIQ analysis modules can further aggregate data from a variety of sources to help others create these links and potentially serve as an outside link as well. This can either happen through our APIs or straight downloads as well. I’m excited because I think it means more cross data analysis similar to Sean’s recent analysis into San Francisco start-ups and his other analysis on DC Restaurant Inspections and Yelp Reviews.
As combining data continues to become easier I can wait to see what other insight is possible!
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