Geoloqi Now Detects Nearby Pinball Machines

Geoloqi Pinball Layer Geolocation

Geoloqi has a new layer that is going to make your coin jars a lot more empty.

When we’re not working (which we love to do), we also love to play pinball. It turns out (we only recently found this out) that the city we live and work in is one of the top pinball cities in America). There’s a great website called the Pinball Map that (using crowdsourcing) keeps track of the pinball machines in cities all over the country. They also have a a great iPhone and Android app so you can update and find machines (Scott Wainstock and Ryan Gratzer worked on the apps and the Pinball Map site, and did a great job with them).

Geoloqi Pinball Geo Notification

We wanted to see if we could use Geoloqi to automatically let us know when we were near a bar with pinball machines. So we combined the Pinball Map data with Geoloqi, and the result is the Geoloqi Pinball Machine Detector!

How it works: When you walk by a venue that has a pinball machine, Geoloqi automatically detects it and sends you a message, which has the name of the venue, and the names of all the pinball machines. We tried it out recently, and it was great. We first found a bar with CSI and the new Batman pinball machine, both of which were only a week old (the Pinball Map data is remarkably up-to-date).

Next we walked by the Shanghai Tunnel, a bar in downtown Portland, which had five machines in the basement. The machines weren’t visible from the road, so I would have never known about them without the Pinball layer. I’ve found a lot of great new places to stop in and visit since I started using it. It’s surprising how many hidden gems you can find, even in the neighborhood you live in.

We also found a really odd Elton John pinball machine (Captain Fantastic) in the shoe store across from Powell’s (a big bookstore in downtown Portland). We’ve walked by it hundreds of times, and still had no idea it was there.

Pinball Map Site

The layer only took a few hours to build, and it was very easy to implement. It’s my favorite layer for Geoloqi right now (the Dinosaur Fossils layer is a close second). I was able to use our visual Layer Editor to track and view progress while the script was importing. It’s a lot of data, but our front-end designer/developer (Patrick Arlt) was able to use our Javascript SDK to make direct calls to the API from our editor, which improves performance a lot, so even with a lot of data, the layer editor works great. It makes a big difference to be able to see the data you’re working with!

Geoloqi Pinball Map Layer

Anything with geo-location can be made into a layer like this. We’ve been having a lot of fun implementing these, and we’re always looking for more ideas and datasets to import in the future. If you have any ideas in mind, you should send them to us (or better yet, make your own layer!).

Geoloqi Pinball Notification

Where does it work?

If you’re in any of the following cities, you can use this layer to get Pinball notifications!
Austin, San Francisco, Boston, British Columbia, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Spokane

Try it Out!

Download the Geoloqi app and subscribe to the Pinball layer! It’s free.. unlike the pinball machines.

Top photo credit: Creative Commons by Flickr User BeerNotBombs

Bring Wikipedia to Life with Geoloqi! Real-time Content Based on Your Location

Location-based Wikipedia Articles in Geoloqi!Geoloqi - Location-Based Content from WikipediaUpdate: Thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick from ReadWriteWeb for writing an article on this topic this morning! New Wikipedia Layer on Geoloqi Gives You Vision Beyond the Greek Gods.

Have you ever walked down the street in a new city and wanted to know what was around you? And I don’t mean bars and restaurants and coffeeshops, but the old buildings, strange statues and curious parks. There is a whole bunch of data out there that’s not tied to place, and a great deal of it exists on Wikipedia.

Back when we were working on Geoloqi at a dining table at a tiny apartment, ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick checked out what we were doing and got very excited. “I want to be able to get push notifications on my phone every time I pass near an off-line place that has a Wikipedia entry written about it”, he wrote. We thought it was a good idea too.

There are many apps out there that have location-based Wikipedia data, some examples are Wikineer (built on Yahoo’s FireEagle), Geopedia and an iOS app from SimpleGeo. The problem with each of these apps is that you can only see the location-based content on a map, and you have to have the app open to see the information. You can’t just walk around and get interesting information pushed to you. On other apps you have to query to see what’s around you.

Getting the Dataset

Pushing location-based data to phones comes with a few problems. The first one is getting a good geocoded Wikipedia dataset. While we were searching for one, we encountered a few from developers who tried to make location-based geoplayers in the past. The datasets weren’t really ready for prime-time, though, so we looked around for a better source.

Then at the Where 2.0 Conference we talked to our friends at InfoChimps, an awesome company that provides big datasets for developers like us. They agreed that a formatted set of geocoded Wikipedia articles would be a great dataset to bring to life. A few months later, InfoChimps’ Dennis Yang published a set of geocoded Wikipedia articles! and sent us an E-mail about it. We were able to take the articles and put them into a Layer in Geoloqi. After some testing and debugging, we were ready to release it life to the world.

Geocoded Wikipedia Articles from Infochimps

Subscribing to the World

Turn on Wikipedia Articles Layer in GeoloqiYesterday when I was heading into the office, I passed a curious building that I wanted to know more about, so I turned on the Geoloqi Wikipedia layer.

Seconds later, I received a push notification about that exact building! It turns out that it was called the Weatherly Building, and it was built by an ice cream tycoon who was credited with inventing the ice cream cone. It turns out that Mr. Weatherly served 90% of the regions ice cream business at the height of his success in the 1920′s, and operated out of a second hand freezer in a small candy shop when he started in the 1890s. I will never look at that building in the same way again.

To subscribe, simply download Geoloqi for iPhone or Android and click on the Layers tab. You’ll be able to see a list of available content around you. Simply click on the Wikipedia layer and turn the switch to “on” to turn it on. You’ll start getting Geocoded Wikipedia articles as you move around! If you already have Geoloqi, you can subscribe simply by clicking the button below. You’ll be prompted to log into Geoloqi and the Wikipedia layer will be added to your account.

Subscribe to Wikipedia on Geoloqi!

Try It Out!

We made the Wikipedia article layer available worldwide, so if you’re anywhere in the world that has geocoded Wikipedia articles, you’ll be able to turn on the Geoloqi layer and get real-time information! Also, all of the Wikipedia articles you pick up will be pushed to your activity stream, so you can read them later.

Geoloqi Activity Stream - Wikipedia Articles

Next Steps

Geoloqi’s apps for iPhone and Android, while functional, drain the phone’s battery. We’ve been working on battery safe GPS technology for the past few months and persistent GPS functionality will be possible when we’re finished, or at least more feasible. We’ll release the battery-safe features into the Geoloqi API and libraries so that you can use them too.

We’ll be adding more layers soon, and are going to make it increasingly easy for everyone to add layers to Geoloqi. We’ll post more information here on the blog. And if you have feedback on the layer, please let us know! We’re excited to hear about it.

Geoloqi is a platform for real-time geo-content that is language agnostic, device agnostic, and driven by a real-time developer toolkit. You can follow us on Twitter @geoloqi, or you could try following the International Space Station instead. A great big thanks to the Geoloqi team, Marshall Kirkpatrick and InfoChimps for all of their help, data, and ideas!


Wed Apr 13 2011, 9:21pm

By Aaron Parecki



BarBird launches a Geoloqi layer!

We’re happy to announce that BarBird, an app that allows you to see the nightlife scene in your city in real-time, has published a layer in the Geoloqi app!

If you go to the Layers tab in your Geoloqi app, you’ll see the “BarBird” layer there if you’re in one of the cities they cover! Currently, they are in over 30 cities in the US, including New York City, London, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland.

If you subscribe to the BarBird layer, you’ll get notifications of the top-ranked tweets about bar specials that are near you! Only the best tweets are selected for sending out, so you may not get a tweet right away.

When you click on the layer in the app you’ll be able to see a list of tweets from local bars! If you click the “on” switch, you’ll start getting notifications about the tweets that are a few blocks away.

When you get the push notification on your phone, you’ll be able to tap “View” and see more information about the deal from the BarBird mobile website.

If you’re using the Android version of Geoloqi, you can still subscribe to this layer by following this link: Subscribe to BarBird’s Best Deals on Geoloqi!