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Learning About Locations through Wikinear

Wikinear is a simple application that lets users to locate Wikipedia entries for locations nearest to where a user is currently located. It was designed for mobile phones and it’s a good alternative to GPS navigation.

Utilizing several technologies from various geographic location tools, Wikinear mashed up these APIs in 200 lines of codes to display five Wikipedia pages nearest to a users location.
These five technologies are:

OAuth – to let users delegate permission to perform actions on their behalf, without handing over their authentication credentials to a third-party piece of software.

Fire Eagle – serves as a location broker that set the geographic location of a user and for retrieving the user’s location. Fire Eagle provides the tools that users can use to manage application that can access their location.

Wikipedia and GeoNames – Using an API, GeoNames query Wikipedia by location based on articles extracted from Wikipedia data dump.

Google Static Maps – By constructing a URL to the image, Statics maps can be dynamically generated on the fly. Displayed maps are optimized for mobile viewing .

Wikinear seems to be a pretty useful application to learn about specific locations through its Wikipedia entries. Unfortunately, the site requires Fire Eagle which is currently on by-invitation beta mode only. You may sign up for Fire Eagle invitation and wait till you get a code. In the meantime, we may have to contend ourselves with this screenshot of the Wikinear in action.


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Learning About Locations through Wikinear

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