I need a Mapendar!

Mapendar sketch

Ok, here’s an idea for some ingenuitive masher.

I’m a visual person. I suck at planning when I can’t visualize the what and where of what I’ll be doing (or what I’ve done). In that single respect, thank Ford for Web 2.0 making things a degree more designerly!

Anyway, here’s what I want.

Take Google or Yahoo Maps. Take my Upcoming feed (or just grab a microformatted event listing like the one on Tantek’s site). And sure, grab a list of free or open wifi hotspots from Plazes. For bonus points, cross-reference the data with my Trazes and Dodgeball checkins to let me know when and if I or my friends have been there. Oh, and yeah, grab stuff from my Flickr stream and hey, Riya? could you like do some searching for photos from the events that I didn’t attend but was watching on Upcoming? Yeah, tanx. And heck, let me throw random things at it like my PiC’s feed or listing of upcoming Barcamps.

Oh, and Flock? Could you like toss in my browser history sorted by geolocation and where I published various blog posts from? Sweet.

Now, I want to see this stuff all pulled in together and tossed on a map. I want 30boxes without the 28, 29, 30 or 31 boxes. I want a big effin’ map (I know Jeremy Kieth can help). And I want to see time represented like sheet music (credit goes to Greg Elin for that idea).

Oh, and please note, this is not a business. It’s an interface.

…Alright, fine, it’s a big old Attention Aggregator — except that it can look into the future and tell me where to be, when. Which makes this what?, an Intention Aggregator? Anh, whatever. It’s a Mapendar and I want one!

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: Molly.com (YC W18), Uber, Google.

22 thoughts on “I need a Mapendar!”

  1. Great idea. Maybe that guy Raj working his app Pubwalk could add these features, or take some of the framework from Pubwalk and make it its own separate app.

  2. I need this too. This is awesome. And I know you said it is not a business, but still, that screenshot looks like prime funding material. 😉

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  5. OK, I’m in. Invite a Map-Fu expert and some styling gurus to Mashpit SF 2 and we’ll get it done. Or at least we’ll get it started.

  6. Ah, thanks Ravi — that’s certainly an approximation, but isn’t quite personal enough.

    Is the source code available somewhere (besides view-source)?

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  8. The Yahoo component is missing the calendar aspect. Chris this is a stellar idea. It is quite close to some of the calendar ideas I have been playing with, as I oriented in a visual manner that is very different than any calendar software offers.

  9. The problem I’m running into is that not all of the sources you mention have enough geolocation information to map. Like Tantek’s events: “Mozilla Corporation, Mountain View” is a pretty precise location to a human, but it puts me in the position of having to scrape one of a number of random sites, which I am not clever enough to do. I think I’d need at least an URL of a site that contains a link to a google map, or something.

    What about an intermediate step, where the Mapendar says, in effect, “I don’t know where this is–please click to show me?”

    Also, the timeline for March appears to be only 18 boxes wide, and I’m pretty sure March has more days than that. Would you want to show the whole month in the timeline? I could also use more information about what you’d like to see there. Are you happy with just one day at a time, or would you like to map events for a range of days?

    Anyway, this looks like a pretty fair amount of work, especially for someone whose coding skills are as rusty as mine. Has anyone else started on this? Is there a wiki/mailing list to discuss it? I’m thinking about using Ruby, which I’ve just started to learn. Oh, and what about a bunch of checkboxes or something so you could specify which sources to show? (Like just upcoming, or just flickr and dodgeball, whatever.) Otherwise the map could get very busy.

  10. @ Holly: No one’s working on this yet, but it might be something we work on at Mashpit II.

    For events that have no geolocation, we could do an autolookup against Yahoo’s Maps API… or yes, ask for user input. Ideally the mapping would be done automagically, with no extra effort on your part.

    March only has 18 boxes to show the idea that you wouldn’t need a box for every day — time is approximate based on activity, not date. 18 boxes is arbitrary and could include more or less depending on “resolution” — are you looking at hours, days, years and so on… Interestingness could determine which data objects actually show up per view… so if you’re at the hour view, maybe everything shows up… at the week view, maybe only 20% of that week’s most interesting events show up… who knows!

    I only proposed it because I was inspired by a conversation I had w/ Tara… not because I intended to build it. If there’s enough interest, heck, go for it! Just make sure it’s open licensed! 😉

  11. Haha, It’s quite funny to see how similar your mock-up is to Zooomr 2. I’ll have to come-by again sometime and show it to you, Chris.

  12. I wanna do it. Man that’s an awesome idea.
    I’m going to start right now. I’ll let you know how is it going 🙂

  13. I’m a little bit late to the thread – but as Nick mentioned above, I’m doing something very similar to what you are requesting w/ http://www.pubwalk.com – event feeds coming soon.

    Hoping to demo/launch it at the next Mashpit.

    Joe, feel free to ping me to discuss further.


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