Home Here Come the Geo-Smart Apps: Yahoo! Opens Location Database to Developers

Here Come the Geo-Smart Apps: Yahoo! Opens Location Database to Developers

Yahoo! today released a developer preview of its Yahoo! Internet Location Platform, a collection of in-depth geo-location based APIs. We expect to see location be more smartly used in many applications around the web thanks to this platform.

The gist of what’s being enabled is this: applications can provide the name of one location and then the Yahoo! APIs will report neighboring and “parent” locations. Flickr developer and map lover Dan Catt articulates the potential power of the API very well in a blog post today.

A lot of Ground Covered

Yahoo! explains the breadth and depth of location data it now offers thusly: “The [Platform] contains about six million places. Coverage varies from country-to-country but globally includes several hundred thousand unique administrative areas with half a million variant names; several thousand historical administrative areas; over two million unique settlements and suburbs, and two-and-a-half million unique postcode points covering about 150 countries, plus a significant number of points of interest, Colloquial Regions, Area Codes, Time Zones, and Islands.”

Geolocation is Hot Everywhere

Geolocation is hot, a number of new projects are underway to leverage increasingly sophisticated geographic knowledge to deliver value to end users. See our coverage of Brightkite and of Yahoo!’s own excellent FireEagle, for example.

Flickr developer Catt explains, for example, that Flickr could use the new APIs to offer images of nearby photos on several different levels, with accuracy as granular as Flickr is able to output.

There are a lot of interesting possibilities, not just for mapping but for services that are map aware. What would you like to see turned geo-smart? We’re excited to see what developers come up with. We probably won’t have to wait for long, either, since the Platform was released the day before O’Reilly’s Where 2.0 conference begins in Burlingame, California. Keep your eyes peeled for location savvy apps this week!

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