Thursday, October 15, 2009

TownMe GeoAPI Allows New Types of Location Services

At TownMe we have been asked on an ongoing basis by our developer friends if they can access some of the data layers and geo infrastructure we have built out while building TownMe. Rather than just build this for a few friends, we decided to release our API to the world.

Today we are very excited to announce an alpha version of our API for developer, which can be found at

This API includes:

Read components:
  • A reverse geocoder which helps translate coordinates (AKA lat/longs) into human readable elements or associations. For instance, give our API "37.78093,-122.409415" and we will return information about the census tract, neighborhood, city, MSA, and state that contains these coordinates. This means your Twitter reader can now say someone was Tweeting from "Soma, San Francisco" rather then "37.7810, -122.4050".
  • A "POI finder" Give us a lat long and we will give you a set of points of interests including businesses close to that point. This means anyone can build services that allow users to broadcast location or otherwise interact with their "real location".
  • Aggregated and extracted data about locations. We have extracted key terms and data about businesses from data sets we have licensed as well as from open sources. This means you will get access to hours of operation and other key data about this business. The TownMe API also includes keywords which give a snapshot of the business. For example, "Ritual Roasters in San Francisco" includes terms such as "hipster" and "coffee" This allows your app to include and provide all sorts of cool applications such as "whats open now" map finders and the like.
  • A canonical URL for the location. We also include TownMe URLs for places. This lets you refer to a location even if you do not have a page on your site about the location.
Write components:
  • The ability to write data about locations. Each API key comes with its own overlay of the world and the ability to write data to this overlay. So, if you are writing an augmented reality game and want to hide a ghost at a bar in San Francisco, you can write the ghost to the bar using the API and all your users will find it there. This information will be stored on our servers, which means all these interactions could literally be written in Jasvascript without you touching additional server code.
We wrote some simple demos for the API. These demos each took less then a person day each (in some cases a few hours) so they are meant more as proof of concepts then as full fledged products. The speed with which they were written demonstrate how easy the API makes coding up location services.

Our demos page is here.

Demo of Twitter app #1 here.
You can view a simple version of it on the iphone:

Install Greasemonkey script for Twitter demo #2 here.

Demo of location lookups here.

You can read more about the api at or by going to (well, we think it is sexy).

Sign up for an API key here.

As a side note - our GeoAPI also informally includes a variety of units including but not limited to:
-Nautical miles (in case you are building a location sharing app for pirates)
-Smoots (in case your app is all about MIT)
-Micrometers (for the biochemistry version of FourSquare)
-Gold Coast Foot (I actually have no idea what that is, but we support it!)

These are experimental units so we may not support them long term, but we thought they were fun to include. Try to guess other units we may have! :)

You can follow us on Twitter here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Edit business information and add new businesses

You told us:

"We want to edit business information on TownMe!" and "We want a way to add new businesses to TownMe!"

Well we are listening and today we're happy to announce that these features are now available on TownMe :) Now You can:
  1. Edit basic information about a business such as hours of operation, phone number, and address
  2. Add a businesses and have it show up in our business directory
To create a new business, simply go to an existing business directory or business listing page and click the "Add a Business" button:

Add a New Business

As always, let us know what you think.

Oh, and you should follow us on Twitter here to get real-time feature updates and fun insider-looks from TownMe :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Page of the week: Gourmet Ghetto Culinary Tours

From time to time we come across a page we think highlights some unique or fascinating aspect of a town on TownMe.

This week's page of the week is "Gourmet Ghetto Culinary Tours:"

Gourmet Ghetto Culinary Tours in Berkeley, TownMe
It features a culinary tour of Berkeley, California on the cheap and includes cupcakes, potato puffs, wine, and a farmers market. How can you go wrong? :)

Created by: Robin L.

Know of a page we should feature? Let us know!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thumbnails for Pages

In a continuing effort to improve the usability as well as the look and feel of TownMe, we've added thumbnails to page links so that you can see what pages are about at a glance.

The way we choose the thumbnail images is simply by selecting the first image on the page. So if you create a new page on TownMe, place the image you want as its thumbnail first on the page.

Wiki Page Thumbnails on TownMe


Let us know what you think.

For real-time updates and insider-looks, follow us on Twitter. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TownMe is "Website of the Day" on GeekSugar

Hi all - some cool news - TownMe was featured of the website of the day on GeekSugar. You can read it all here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Page Of The Week: Free Stuff in Austin, Texas

From time to time we come across a page we think highlights some unique or fascinating aspect of a town on TownMe.

We are going to start featuring these pages on a regular basis to help people spot some of the cool things going on on TownMe.

This week's page of the week is "What's Free in Austin:"

What's free in Austin, Texas on TownMe
It features a variety of free festivals and events, free stuff on your birthday, art museums, and free improv comedy.

Created by: Jacob D.

Know of a page we should feature? Let us know!

Reccommend the... Like the.... See what people around the web reccommend for businesses

TownMe recently launched a feature called "People are talking about...." We looked at what was being said about a particular business across the Web and extracted all the unique words or phrases that seem to represent what people think is most interesting about that business.

Now we have made it even easier to see what's interesting or exciting about a business by adding two additional sections to "People Are Talking About," "People Recommend..." & "People Also Like The..."

As the names imply, the first feature lets you see what people recommend about the business, the second lets you see what people like most about the business.

For example, for Tartine in San Francisco you can see that people recommend the lemon cream tart and the sandwiches, but also like the "experience" and the "ingredients" that are used there.

People Are Talking About, Recommending, and Also Like... on TownMe
We're going to keep iterating on ways to provide an aggregate view of what's great about every business, so keep tabs on us!

And don't hesitate to let us know what you think.

You can also follow us on Twitter here.