I’ve written before about the WHERE platform, a location-based service platform that allows developers to create custom location applications. Now just about anyone can do it, with very little technical knowledge.
You go to Google’s My Maps, plot your points and then go through a simple process to create your widget. (Behind the scenes, WHERE is using KML, which is becoming the de facto standard for identifying locations.)
I was easily able to create widgets that allow you to find the nearest Metro station in the D.C. area, the restaurants reviewed in Tom Sietsema’s 2006 Dining Guide, my own guide to my neighborhood and a list of restaurants I want to try. You can see my custom widgets in the phone at right. (The links take you to the Google My Map; if you’re a WHERE user and want a link to the widget, email me. Unfortunately, there’s not yet an easy way to publish them.)
WHERE also supports a CSV import, so groups or people that have existing databases of content they want to use can just upload the data instead of first plotting it on a Google Map.
Right now the widgets aren’t live. For example, if I add or change information in my Clarendon guide, I have to recreate the widget. Even though that process is simple, it shouldn’t be necessary.