Yahoo Looks At Geographical Relationships

Fire Eagle, Flickr, and Maps should get smarter

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Yahoo’s taking its geo services to the next level, and along the way, the company’s offering everyone a preview.  The Yahoo Internet Location Platform essentially figures out the relationships between different cities, states, and countries.

On the Yahoo Local & Maps Blog, Michael Lawless explains that places have been given unique Where on Earth IDs (WOEIDs).  The use of numbers, instead of letters, keeps everything "language neutral."

Yahoo Developer Network
 Yahoo Internet Location Platform

He then continues, "[T]ag 727232 for example, is Amsterdam, and we can use the new APIs that we’re releasing to find out all sorts of relevant relationship information, including: The parent, the administrative region of Amsterdam . . . Neighbors, such as Landsmeer, Zaandam, and Watergang . . . Belong Tos, such as North Holland, Western Europe, and the Europe/Amsterdam Time Zone."

This technology should increase the usefulness of existing services like Yahoo Maps – WOEIDs can sort out the Marquettes located in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.  Flickr is also bound to benefit, as the photo-sharing service’s Dan Catt discussed geotagging in detail.

As for what else happens, it’ll be (at least to some degree) up to the public.  Yahoo has encouraged developers to play with both its Internet Location Platform and Fire Eagle, so anyone with the time and skills can tinker at will.  Marshall Kirkpatrick notes, "We’re excited to see what developers come up with.  We probably won’t have to wait for long, either, since the Platform was released the day before O’Reilly’s Where 2.0 conference begins in Burlingame, California."

Yahoo Looks At Geographical Relationships
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