WOEID – first big announcement of Where 2.0 2008 ?

Yahoo have released the initial version of their Yahoo! Internet Location Platform an API to access a database of place ID’s known as WOEID (Where on Earth ID’s).

In the UK we are familiar with the concept of location identifiers from the OS Mastermap TOID, which it fair to say is still to really achieve much traction. Key to success for these type of systems is their openness, something which perhaps not surprisingly, is not a major feature of TOID’s

For example try to find the TOID and location of Buckingham Palace and you will struggle unless you have licensed the very expensive Mastermap database for London, on the other hand the following http get request;

http://where.yahooapis.com/v1/places.q(‘buckingham%20palace’)

returns

22474234Point of InterestBuckingham PalaceUnited KingdomEnglandGreater LondonLondonSW1A 151.500919-0.1413651.500469-0.1420951.501369-0.14063

A nice hierarchical representation of the place of interest and its absolute location !

This could be a neat way of providing a little more structure around the geotag clouds currently multiplying, resulting in the location of popular features such as Buckingham Place becoming clusters of points.

I think this is a great start, it will be interesting to see how the APi develops with the addition of some verbs, /add for example.

Written and Submitted from the Google Office, London. (yes I’m not a where 2.0 this year, I’m saving my energy for this weekends wherecamp, and Google I/O)

2 comments

  1. James

    Yes, TOIDs are a fairly pointless creation of the OS. Yes, you can pass TOIDs around freely but what’s the point unless you have a Mastermap licence….none whatsoever. The OS is still trying to get people to base their own geometry requirements on Mastermap by aggregating TOIDs together so you end up with a custom polygon which fits your requirements….the concept being one set of map data with multiple views into the data. All very well until you chuck in the nightmare of managing change only updates and the fact that a lot of user geometry does not ‘fit’ with topographic Mastermap features, so you end up with ‘hybrid’ polygons based upon some original Mastermap and some home brew polygons….basically a right mess. I’m surprised OS is still pushing TOID’s and I’ve only met one other local government user who actually uses them!

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