I read a few days ago
about how the New York Daily News is using Foursquare
to drive mobile users to its vast archive of historical NYC images, and I started thinking about my own sightly-less-vast archive of photos
I've taken of Near Southeast since 2000, and what I could do with them in a mobile-y kind of way. I figured that what people would be most interested in would be to see what a certain spot looked like before all of the redevelopment started happening. And wouldn't be neat if you didn't have to input your location, but if it was determined via your phone's GPS?
So I threw something together, delving for the first time into both HTML5 and the still-in-alpha JQueryMobile
, and it seems to actually work, at least on newer smartphones, though I make no guarantees. (Haven't tried it on older ones.)
How to use it? Stand on a street corner in Near Southeast, then go to jdland.com/here. If your phone has GPS, it will first ask you for permission to access your location data, then will lock on your location and bring up a page showing the oldest photo in my archive for eight compass points at that intersection.
Walk to another intersection, hit "Update GPS," and it'll show you a new set. If you're too far from an intersection, it'll ask you to confirm which one you want.
If your phone only uses the less-accurate methods of celltower triangulation or a WiFi signal to determine your approximate location, this app will show you what it thinks the closest intersections are, and you can choose which one to view. Or, if the GPS stuff just isn't working at all, you can browse to the intersection you want to see. (This will be what you'll have to do when you're trying it from your desktop computer, which I know everyone is racing to do right now--note that the pages will only work in Chrome and Firefox but not IE on desktops/laptops.)
It's kind of rudimentary in the display of the photos (yes, it'd be nice to show just one, based on the direction you're looking), but considering I only came up with the notion about 72 hours ago, it's not bad. I also have to ponder how to get these photos via location-awareness to people who are in the neighborhood but don't already know about JDLand, but that will come.
I've written a bit more about the app here
--and note that, while I'm calling it an "app," it's just web pages, so it doesn't require a download.
That url again is jdland.com/here, or you can just go to m.jdland.com and follow the link at the top of the page. If you try it out, let me know how it goes. If it doesn't quite work for you, I apologize: it is, after all, something I just tossed together on a whim.
PS: Of course, all my photos since 2000 are available in my full archive
whenever you feel like plowing through them, searchable by location and/or date. And maybe when DDOT releases Near Southeast images from its photo archive
, I'll add a way to see those as well, but will wait for critical mass on that batch.
City Paper's Housing Complex blog
reported late Friday afternoon that DDOT has decided to put in a "Barnes Dance" configuration (also known as a pedestrian scramble
) at New Jersey and M, SE, sometime early in 2011. This is the setup where traffic on all sides have a red light at the same time, allowing pedestrians to cross in any direction. The first one in DC was put in at 7th and H in Chinatown a few months ago. With so many people needing to cross diagonally to go between the Navy Yard Metro station entrance and USDOT
, this is probably a good choice for another intersection to try it out.
(Though I do dream of a day far in the future, when Forest City builds an office building on the NGA site on the southwest corner of the intersection as part of the Yards
, that that new construction would include an additional entrance to the Metro station, obviating the need for people on the south side of M to cross the street to get to the subway.)