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Adrian Holovaty: a mashup case study, Everyblock.com

Adrian is a journalist (ahhh – that’s a good thing – a dying breed) and a developer of web apps for washingtonpost.com, lawrence.com and LJWorld.com. If that wasn’t enough he also co-created Django the open-source development framework.

Adrian described how the long tail relates to news and current events. That there is significant specific content at a local and micro level. He showed off his amazing service, Everyblock, which aggregates different forms of content at a micro-geographical level – Flickr photos, news, public notices. It is an amazing offering that crawls data all over the place and looks for geographic information and tags it based on that location. On Flickr it is easier as it works on geo-coding, commonly found in modern digital cameras.

Adrian told how site users expressed delight that they could visit somewhere that gave data to them rather than asking for the users own contribution – it’s the perfect aggregative play. He explained that the “big boys” Google, Yahoo et al are not interested in such localized solutions – they’re looking for national and international problems to solve – therefore discreet local solutions are a really viable place to go for small independents.

Adrian raised some interesting questions around the fact that mashup designers should ask whether their service works without maps – Everyblock has the ability to filter with sufficiently granularity that a map is generally unnecessary.

Adrian suggested that anyone interested in geo/mapping mashup services should read this.