Where in the World?

by Michael(tm) Smith

Related link: http://norman.walsh.name/2005/02/16/witw-part-1

As part of his ongoing technical explorations on his norman.walsh.name site, Norm Walsh has put together a web service that he has christened Where in the World (WITW, for short) (tagged nwn-whereintheworld for Technorati tracking). I guess it is still somewhat in the experimental stages, and I'm sure he'll be doing more refining. But the Web-based form interfaces for getting data in and out of it are all in place. Took me a little while to figure out how to get to them, but once I did, I managed to set up a WITW is Michael Smith? page for myself, and even added data about a few of my neighborhood landmarks.

So from taking a look at my WITW page, you can get the basic idea: given a username, the service returns information about where (in the world) that user is located. Meaning latitude and longitude. With links to maps generated at third-party sites (multimap and MapQuest). And the but-wait-there's-more parts are that it gives you a list of landmarks (if any) that are relatively close to the location of that user. And a list of other users that are within some proximity.

Let other people know where you are

So far, Norm has made the service available to anybody who takes the time to register and add some data about themselves. A few people other than me have already. You can find their info in the also-very-cool WITW Are They? Atom feed that Norm has also conveniently provided.

And it's probably not too late for you to be the first kid on your block to set you a WITW feed. All you need to do is:

  1. Go through the short registration process

  2. Once you are registered and authenticated, go to the WITW Am I Now? page to add or update your location information

  3. (Optionally) Go to the Update Landmark page to add or update information about landmarks. Which can be wherever -- not necessarily only your own local ones (though of course I guess the main point is to add ones that are local to your area, especially if there aren't any in there already)

Anyway, I feel a bit lonely right now being the only WITW user anywhere near Yoyogi Park. So please especially take some time to get a page set up for yourself if you are living in Tokyo. Or even in Honshu...

One thing I can tell from looking at Norm's own WITW page is that he really is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. Though it seems like a nice nowhere. Especially compared to where I live, which is often a little too "somewhere" for me. Maybe that's why most of the landmarks I added are parks...


2005-02-23 09:05:53
Not to be a troll or anything, but when I first saw this, I thought it was going to be about Carmen Sandiego :-D But now after reading the article, I bet that someone will go ahead and do it using the name Carmen Sandiego.