APIs, APIs, APIs, and the open geodata community

APIs, APIs, APIs, and the open geodata community

Google Map API. Yahoo Maps API. Microsoft loves user created content. Everyone loves users and developers. They big corps seem to surface realize the utility of what geohackers have been discussing and building, and are ready to role it out masively. That’s cool, right.

The point of geocoded RSS is to leverage the architecture of creation and aggregation tools out there. By encoding annotations in RSS, widespread ease of use leads to an emergent layer of open geo data that is searchable by location and text, taggable, ready for repurpose.

Yahoo Maps API accept the geocoded RSS “substandard” (help please OGC) for building maps, and that deserves an exclamation mark! It’s a good start, addresses a certain segment of usage, and spurns geodata creation on the network. Now Yahoo needs to start aggregating these feeds, and build a search interface to user created data in Local. Apparently I still work for Yahoo (w/o the benefits ;), if you guys want to do something, let me know. Or how about map links in the My Yahoo RSS modules? That My Yahoo Maps module is looking a little crufty.

Criticisms: the map is still kinda pokey and RSS feed errors are not well reported, please give some feedback. Not thrilled with the “ymaps” namespace .. “Address”, “CityState”, “Zip”, “Country” all have general utility beyond Yahoo, and this should be pursued in open standards. “Groups” can be handles by <category> or <dc:subject>, there’s no need for new fields here.

Google Maps API is aimed at developers. There’s no portable annotation format specified, it’s all through Javascript calls. That’s fine, leaves it open to apps build on the platform. And leaves the creation of community open to other apps. An excellent Google Maps Hack would be a geocoded RSS parser/translator to Google API calls.

Virtual Earth has professed user&developer-love, but it’s yet to be seen how easy it will be to get information in and out of their system. And it’s very much about community .. will users feel that the system is somehow their own? flickr lessons.

Now that the tools and formats are widely available, the next challenge is to make it easier for users to geotag, aggregate and search.