February 20, 2006
I’ll post any interesting (geeky) notes in the extended entry.
When Adrian was starting up chicagocrime.org, he had to geocode all of the blocks in Chicago — the Chicago police code crimes by block, but to plot them on Google Maps Adrian needed them coded by latitude and longitude. So at first he used Google Maps itself as a kind of indirect geocoder — but was banned from the site! He was quickly reinstated, but now uses Yahoo’s geocoding API, which allows up to 50,000 requests a day. There are only 1,000 (!) crimes in Chicago every day, so that works just fine.
Now Thor Muller of Ruby Red Labs is talking about ScrapePIs — a cute name for ad hoc interfaces to websites that don’t have cool APIs like Google and Amazon. For example:
- Wikipedia doesn’t have any API. But this site offers a bunch of methods that let you work with Wikipedia programmatically.
- There’s no free, open database of TV schedules. But there is an open-source project called XMLTV that’s an attempt to create one. This company offers one for noncommercial use, too.
I went to a session led by Ward Cunningham — inventor of the wiki! How cool is that?