It’s never easy to write a story about a Portland startup shutting down. But it’s especially hard when it was one of the first of the new generation of startups—and one that secured funding. But that’s the post I’m having to compose right now.
And the geogeeking hits just keep on coming. Fresh off a weekend of geolocation and mapping goodness with OpenStreetMap, Mobile Portland will be hosting Di-Ann Eisnor and Jason Wilson of Platial, one of the original companies on the social mapping scene, Portland-based or otherwise.
Di-Ann and Jason will be exploring how iPhone OS 3.0 and Map Kit will change the burgeoning social mapping scene given that the iPhone has just “drastically increas[ed] the number of services which can integrate location.” Read More
I always wish companies took time to blog a little bit more. Share a little insight. Blow off some steam. Or even just tell us what they’re thinking.
Sometimes I think the folks running startups forget that they’ve got a great deal to share. That their experience or their failures or even just their focusing on a singular topic in excruciating detail gives them a unique vantage for which many of us mere mortals yearn.
And today, I was completely blown away when I caught up on a series of posts by Portland-based Platial‘s Di-Ann Eisnor, documenting her thoughts on “How neogeography will change the way we live.” After reading the series, you’ll never look at mapping the same way again. Read More
Portland-based Platial, the mapping site that helps folks tell the backstories about locations that deepen the meaning of “where you are,” just got a lot more mobile, now that Platial Nearby is part of the Apple iPhone App Store.
I got the chance to see a demo version of Nearby at Platial’s iPhone App launch party a few weeks back. And it’s a pretty slick little application. Nearby takes advantage of the location-aware features of the newest iPhone, allowing users to dig into Platial content that is pertinent to both where they are—and where they might like to be.
Like most mapping applications, users can find the typical “publicly available” information about locations. But with Nearby, they also gain the advantage of tapping into Platial user data—the stories about the spot you’re standing. That means litterally thousands of notes, images, tags, and reviews for some areas. Stories of personal experience. And insight. Stories that you don’t usually get, unless you have an actual person or two to guide you.
Long story short, Nearby is a virtual tour guide, providing the backstory for the world around you. And with the iPhone app, you’re getting that story as you walk through that location.
“This reinforces our mission to create the Peoples Atlas,” said Di-Ann Eisnor, CEO of Platial. “For two years we’ve been collecting information about all kinds of places that are meaningful to people; user-generated content that goes beyond commercial listings and into architecture, activism, street art, playgrounds, local history–things you can’t find anywhere else. We still have a long way to go, but we’re closer now with Platial for iPhone.”
Nearby is currently available for download from the Apple iPhone App Store. No registration is required, so users can begin using the app right away.
Well, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch with the 2.0 version of the firmware.
Have you tried the Platial Nearby app? I’d love to hear about your experience.
Platial is a free online mapping resource where people around the world every day share and discover all kinds of places. Anyone can map just about anything including their towns, lives, travels, feeds, files, photos, video, and stories in one simple interface.
Techvibes has released the latest version of its Portland Start-up Index, with an interesting pair of debuts. Portland-based Platial has been added to the list, debuting at #12. What makes this interesting is that Platial-owned Frappr also debuted this month—at #5.
How did the other companies and products fare? Take a look. The usual “apples and oranges” rules apply.
- Earth Class Mail
- Jive Software
- Gone Raw
- Active Reload
- Art Face Off
- Walker Tracker
- GoLife Mobile
- Jama Software
- Box Populi
- IDP Solutions
- Collaborative Software Initiative
- Worldwide Nest
Techvibes ranks the sites, products, and companies by comparing Compete and Alexa rankings. To learn more about the metrics and the movement within the list, visit the Techvibes Portland Start-up Index for May 2008.
Portland-based Platial, one of the original social mapping applications and caretaker of more than 150 million geobits of information, has rolled out a new build of its application that promises to take a critical step forward in social mapping, moving from the ability “to plot points on a map” to the ability to have much deeper and meaningful experiences with locations and the people who love them.
The newest release—dubbed “Flanders,” following the alphabetical NW Portland street structure that governs Platial’s release naming—introduces a number of new features and a whole new look for Platial.
Not the least of which are a ton of new categories for your map items:
Sharing the experience
But the most important part of the release may not be the things that you see. The most important part of the release may be the things that you feel.
Because the latest build of Platial focuses on helping the viewer move from disconnected innocent bystander to participant, by immersing him or her in the rich contextual fabric of the location.
“We’re trying to push a little further,” said Di-Ann Eisnor, Platial CEO. “We’re trying to capture that experience by providing relevant and contextual information.”
And that experience is definitely heightened by Platial’s move into the content space.
I’m happy to see Platial’s flavor of social mapping move beyond the realm of “writing a few notes about this pin on the map” to something that furthers the storytelling that has always been at the very core of the Platial service.
And with the Flanders build, I see them moving into something that truly gives meaning to location: history, context, deep content, and differing views.
It will be exciting to see where this goes.
(Hat tip Marshall Kirkpatrick)
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the mapping and location apps that call Portland, Oregon, home. (Thanks in no small part to the reigning King of mapping, Matt King. An “*” below identifies each of his mapping projects.)
The most well-known Portland-based mapping application, Platial, is the largest independent social mapping application. According to the Platial site:
Platial enables anyone to find, create, and use meaningful maps of Places that matter to them. Our dream is to connect people, neighborhoods, cities, and countries through a citizen-driven common context that goes beyond geopolitical boundaries. We are building Platial because we adore Places.
The admittedly “we did it for the fun of it project” that helps the would-be lush-on-a-budget find the nearest happy hour. And fast.
In Unthirsty‘s own words:
Unthirsty is the work of a group of like-minded souls who were always struggling (for obvious reasons) to remember where and when they last enjoyed that good happy hour. A plan of action was drawn up on beer sodden napkins over bargain pints and some mighty fine nachos. Thus, Unthirsty was launched and dedicated to the good of all mankind’s legally drinking denizens.
Yearning for yarn? Look no further than KnitMap, your way to finding all of your needling knitting needs or simply getting your Turkish Cast-on on.
KnitMap describes itself as:
[A] site that catalogues and maps the locations of retail shops that sell yarn, knitting supplies and knitting accessories. You can search to find these locations in the US, Canada, UK and most of Europe. Its anywhere that Google maps will work, and the list is growing everyday! Once you’ve found a shop, you can rate it’s attributes, leave comments, upload photos, and add it to your Favorites.
Think Unthirsty and KnitMap are cool, but interested in putting your own spin on the “plot and find [whatever] via Google Maps”? Then look no further than SocialMap, the mapping technology that powers both of those properties.
Why release SocialMap?
SocialMap was created to help solve the problems we encountered on the web within the communities we are a part of. Through its humble beginnings as a national Happy Hour finder, then a Knitting store locator, we noticed regions and groups that had a passionate user base, but were very underrepresented online. Existing websites and search engines were not only dated in their technology but lacked the ability for users to interact with the information presented.
Winner of the “Best Mashup” at this year’s Mashup Camp, Mapdango takes other API-accessible content and plots it on the map.
Mashup Awards described Mapdango as:
An extensive Google Maps mashup that lets you explore locations with helpful information including weather (WeatherBug), photos (Flickr), facts (Wikipedia), events (Eventful), news (Google News) and more.
New to the Portland mapping scene, WeoGeo takes a deep dive into online cartography, providing extremely detailed mapping options.
[WeoGeo] supplies surveyors, engineers, cartographers, and scientists with the ability to conveniently store, search, and exchange high-resolution CAD and GIS mapping products. Mappers easily list their data for sale. Researchers quickly find the data they need.
(Bonus) TwitterLocal* (formerly known as TwitterWhere)
It’s not a mapping application, per se, so I didn’t want to include it on the list. But TwitterLocal is another Matt King project that makes location information useful in the context of Twitter. Simply plug in a location and TwitterLocal will provide an RSS feed of the Twitter residents in that area, like Portland, for example. It’s a valuable tool for getting a feel for your neighborhood Twitter types.
That’s just a short list. But, admittedly, there’s so much mapping occurring in map-happy Portland, that I may have missed some obvious maps. If I did, please feel free to admonish me in the comments.
Portland-based Platial, the de facto leader in “social mapping,” has just announced a move that is sure to increase both their user base and their overall utitlity: Platial is going mobile.
Using services from mobile partner, Lightpole, Platial users will now be able to:
… take their maps to go with Lightpole’s new local aggregator for mobile. All Platial maps will now have a Lightpole icon which allows people to send their data to any java enabled phone. Most of Platial’s location-based content will be available with the download of Lightpole’s application meaning that even non-Platial members can access Platial content.
Details are fairly limited at this time. Aside from a welcome message to Frappr users on the Platial site.
Platial’s CEO Di-Ann Eisnor says, “We are delighted to have the Frappr community join the Platial family. This reinforces our vision to connect people, neighborhoods and nations around the world. Together, we will make social mapping more accessible, more valuable and a more fundamental part of Web 2.0, encompassing mobile and local search. We will also introduce new, more effective advertising models using social data and location to create greater relevance.“
So what about that other company that does something with maps? You know, that one down in Mountain View and in The Dalles? Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read/Write Web provides guidance on what this acquisition actually means.
At the time of this posting, this has not been announced on the Platial blog. [Update] On October 23, Platial posted a blog entry about the benefits of the acquired technology.
More information as it becomes available.
Portland-based Platial, one of the original social-mapping and map-mashup sites, has announced that the latest build of their mapping tool has completed BETA testing and is now available to the general public.
While the most obvious changes are to the Platial interface, the most interesting part of the release—at least from my perspective—is that it marks the first build on the new Platial API.
It’s also the first major release on our new code framework Chris and Jake developed using our new api which Chris pretty much single handedly created
Some stability issues have been addressed under the hood, as well:
The reason we’re all so excited is that both the code base and the UI are more solid than ever (also lots of back-end tweaking and turning are targeting content eve[n] more effectively!). This was a methodical build and is just the first on the new solid framework which is going to allow us to be even faster and even more responsive to our amazing users!! Now that the Platial platform is for a good part established we can finally obsess over the details.
Platial enables anyone to find, create and use meaningful maps of Places that matter to them. The goal of the site is to connect people, neighborhoods, cities and countries through a citizen-driven common context that goes beyond geopolitical boundaries.