§ Mapping & Geospatial

Ben Hammersley points us to Plazes, which claims to be the ‘navigation system for your social life,’ a ‘location-aware interaction and geo-information system, connecting you with the people and Plazes in your area and all over the world.’

What this actually means is that users define a Plaze in terms of location and category and other users annotate the Plaze with photos and comments. So if I go to a pub, I can take a picture of the beer garden, type the address into Plazes and tell the world what I thought of the ale, backed up with my photo. Other folks can then come along and add comments and photos of their own experience of the pub.

Plazes works on the blog concept (as opposed to, say, a Wiki) with posts anchored to physical locations rather than points in time. It’s not a radical idea but it’s extremely well executed (and as each Plaze has an associated latitude and longitude, it links to Multimap, being as it is, a truly global mapping service. Ahem.)

Update: Well that’s how I thought Plazes worked. It’s actually both cooler and less cool than I realized. Each Plaze is really a network with an Internet connection – when you add a Plaze the network MAC address of your current Internet connection is stored with it. The upshot is that, having added sat at work and added the office as a Plaze, I can’t then add a pub as I had hoped. I have to actually go to the pub with my laptop, hope it has a wifi connection, and add the pub there. That is the less cool bit.

The cooler bit is that when you log into Plazes it will know where you are based on which network you are logged into (assuming that someone has added that network as a Plaze) and this information is shared with other Plaze users. Personally I’m less interested in that side of things, but I do love the potential of the annotated locations.