Tag Archives: foursquare

Foursquare switch to OpenStreetMap and simplify the access to the open data

On Wednesday February 29th, the bissextile day of 2012, Foursquare announced on his blog the switch from Google Maps to OpenStreetMaps.

I hope that this transition will help the open source/data world like never before. This is the first time that an Open Source project can be improved simply using an easy, known and fun application like Foursquare.

The first change reason they considered for is the economic one. Last October Google announced that more than 25,000 map loads per day had to be paid with the Google Premier API.
Thor Mitchell wrote that this change affected just 0.35% of world’s websites, but for that small amount of people the prices plans were really high.

Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria had the same 4SQ experience and solved the problem in the same “open way”. In his post he wrote strong words about the commercial attitude of the Google’s employee that represent the real value of the map services for web and mobile.

Unfortunately Google’s sales process was not good. Having agreed to a time for a call, the sales rep missed the appointment with no warning, instead calling me 45 minutes late. It was quickly obvious he had done no research whatsoever about our service, what we do, or even where (in which countries) we do it. He was unable to explain the basics of the new charging regime – for example, what exactly is a “map-view”, telling me instead to “ask your developers”. Finally he quoted a price to continue using Google Maps (just on nestoria.co.uk, one of eight countries we operate in) that would have bankrupted our company.

On the Foursquare post comments are focused on the bad OSM mapping information of cities like New Mexico and Sao Paulo, while some Russian countries are mapped better than Google Map. What does it mean?

disquis image
Grawl screenshot

Civil earth mapping is still generally incomplete according to the entity that promote it. Google Map is focused on commercial scope because it works on advertising and business applications. OpenStreetMap is focused on the openness of its platform, but depends totally from the users. The advanced digital users like the russians 🙂

Unfortunately the paradox is that the Google Map success is due to his easy personalization and integration on the web. Everyone can build a little map or can add his company on it. Using Google Map gives the sense of openness that is not real!

When users put datas on Google Map give their information to BigG that first tracks our profiles, and then filsl its local databases. Ok, it gives us a a great map service, but this is not open, its a business product that users are building with their datas and a strong usage.

If I were in OpenStreetMap I focus on little instruments to facilitate access to the map instruments. For example the maps for personal web sites, small applications for mobile and so on. Untill companies will be forced to consider OMS as a Google Map alternative just for economic reasons, the OMS project probably will not fill the mapping holes of his atlas.

Open Source and Open Data should be easy end fun. 

Foursquare has the unique occasion to spread an open source project that need to be filled with users, gamification, badges, specials and so on. Foursquare could even innovate his system developing a personal reality mapping function that goes beyond the simple check-in system. Users could build their onf maps using the 4SQ mobile technology mixed to the OSM map framework, and then they could open ecommerce corners or sell local adv.

I’ll follow them, even if for me Foursquare is still an Antisocial Network 😉

Foursquare, the antisocial network


This Sunday I signed up on Foursquare even if probably I should have signed some years ago. Honestly I’ve never have an account because I hate to subscribe web services that I don’t need, and I didn’t need it until I read about the real time deals in partnership with Groupon.

Groupon in Italy is a sort of mania. I see people that go crazy for the offers and buy things that they never known to want. Foursquare here is used from a really small community that, especially in Milan, is composed from Digital and Communication workers. Ok, they are all good people, but not properly the typical I’d like to spend all my evenings.
Now I think that the Foursquare’s/Groupon’s users will enormously increase and so I’ll have the possibility to find my common friends around Milan.

So, on Sunday I signed up and I searched for contacts using Facebook, Gmail and Twitter adding people without any criteria.

Add him, add her, add its, add them.
I shouldn’t add him!
I’m not interested in meeting him and I don’t want to know where is he.
Hey wait..there’s a paradox!
I’m really interested in his position because in this way I can avoid him or prepare myself to the “casual meeting”.
It’s fantastic!

image of avoid area

Foursquare is the first social network that can be used for antisocial human needs with a millimetric precision. Its better than the participation lists on Facebook and Eventbrite because its preciser and in real time.
Even if the web is going to be social, in the day life we can’t be always friendly. I don’t know you, but absolutely I can’t, so sometimes could be useful to know if in a bar or in a square there’s someone that I prefer avoid.

This is a really concrete, rude and onf line use of the mobile internet (what is onf line?).
I love it!

This antisocial use of Foursquare I think that could be improved with some new functions like:

  • new tagging/attributes scheme for the contacts like “follow” or “avoid”
  • “avoid friend” check-in map with special alert or a new navigation tab
  • places suggestions free of the “avoid friends” (powered of Groupon)

So, what are you waiting for?
Add me on Foursquare!

image property of HowardLake