Wikinear Service: Wikipedia Near You

Simon Willison recently created an interesting mashup Wikinear, combining Fire Eagle (Yahoo’s new location tracking service) and Wikipedia:

It’s a simple site that does just one thing: show you a list of the five Wikipedia pages that are geographically closest to your current location. It’s designed (or not-designed) to be used mainly from mobile phones.

The idea for the site came from living in Oxford for a year. The city is full of beautiful old historic buildings (many of them colleges), but very few of them are labelled or signposted. With wikinear.com and a GPS hooked up to Fire Eagle, I can pull out my phone and see a list of the closest points of interest, plotted on a handy map.

You’ll need a Fire Eagle beta invite code to use the service. (Sign up on the Fire Eagle site if you need one.) Then sign in to Wikinear.com which will fetch your location from Fire Eagle, then display a few points of interest near your current location.

Here’s an example using Sunnyvale California (Yahoo HQ) as my location:

Screenshot of wikinear.com service, using Sunnyvale California as an example

Testing the site with my Treo 650 was a little sketchy. The Wikinear site seems fine (although the layout doesn’t quite work for the Treo browser), but the sequence of logging in to Yahoo (190 KB page size) then authorizing Fire Eagle (182 KB) is way too heavy for mobile users. Ideally we’d have lighter-weight versions of those pages available for Fire Eagle developers.

Even with that, this is a great application that shows the potential of Fire Eagle and mashes up some existing services in a creative way.

(Via Mobile Mammoth)