Help out the Open Guide to Boston

This was originally posted to a local geo-hackers list, but I haven’t
received any response yet. It was long enough that I wanted to publish
it in a Google-able form as well.

I’m Christohper Schmidt, local mapping, geo, mobile application, web
development, RDF, RSS, and otherwise technically oriented hacker. Jo
Walsh mentioned my name on this list a few months back, as the organizer
of the Open Guide to Boston.

I’ve been working for the past couple months on boostrapping the content
in the Open Guide via the sites for Boston, Cambridge, and
Boston-Metro. Since there is no database-protection on copyright in the
US, pulling the data from these sites for repurposing it is a (as far as
I know) valid legal use of the data, and the Boston OpenGuide has
prospered significantly from these additions in terms of Google hits due
to the sheer size of the dataset.

However, it’s now coming to a point where adding more random content
isn’t helping to expand the guide in a way that’s entirely beneficial.
What is needed to expand the Open Guide to Boston is, quite simply, more
content about the places that are described.

A relative few of the nodes have full content — reviews, pictures, and
so on. Judy Jetson ,
Full Moon ,
Mojo Music . However, the large majority
are relatively devoid of life. I want to bring life to them, because I
want this to be even better than citysearch, even better than anything
else there is out there as a guide to what is around Boston, and I want
to encourage people to use it everywhere.

I have a couple reasons why. First, I hate closed systems with
unneccesary licensing and all the crap that goes along with things like
CitySearch and the other similar city directories. More importantly,
however, I feel that an open source of awesome information on what is in
andd around Boston lets people build more interesting things that pull
that data in. I have several personal goals that would use this data,
enabling users to get more information about what’s around them at
wireless hotspots, or when using a mobile device.

I would love to see more interest from the geo community in and around
Boston and especially my hometown of Cambridge. I’ve pushed for quite a
while to get the content to the level it’s at, but I simply can’ty visit
every restaurant in town. I would love to see more interest from
external parties because it might encourage me to keep on working at
what seems to be a very gargantuan task of documenting every thing I can
in town. An annotated Yellow Pages is a great goal, but requires far
more resources than I can bring to bear.

I’d be willing to demonstrate or pontificate on any of my desires or
goals, if persons are interested in meeting up to do this sometime in
the next couple weeks (or anytime, really). I’d also love to hear what
the Open Guides software isn’t providing that you would like to see: the
Google Maps component is something that I already put together and
committed back to the main tree, and I’ve got a couple other hacks in
the guides hosted on my server that aren’t in the main branch.

Looking forward to hearing from anyone who’s interested in helping,
evangalizing, or suggesting things that might be done better.

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