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May 26, 2013
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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.
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JD says: (11/13/10 11:15 AM)
I'll also note that I was all ready to launch this on Friday, except that I found out that during my server move a few weeks ago the m.jdland.com URL had gotten broken, and was pointing to a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary, and it took a while to get that sorted out. While I know everyone is always encouraging me to broaden my business ventures, that probably wasn't quite the direction I would have planned on going.


mikescorpio says: (11/13/10 2:32 PM)
Did it using my laptop from my cabin in WV. Worked perfectly.


JD says: (11/13/10 3:54 PM)
I hope by "work perfectly" you mean that it told you you were in West Virginia, not at 3rd and K or something. :-)


mikescorpio says: (11/13/10 5:07 PM)
Using WiFi, so couldn't use the GPS feature. But was able to pick and choose which intersection from your list to view. Nice and easy. :^)


MoE says: (11/13/10 10:46 PM)
Innovative idea...great work!


Mike L says: (11/15/10 11:21 AM)
Just tested this from my iphone(Not the GPS just the site since I am not home) But it worked great on the pick a spot. Very cool idea and rather amazing to see. A (maybe not so quick) enhancement thought. Allow you to just enter the address you are at for the non GPS people and it find the closest intersection??


JD says: (11/15/10 11:38 AM)
Thanks, Mike. Entering addresses manually is fraught with peril, because people come up with all sorts of bizarro ways to type stuff in. :-) This is really created for newer phones with some level of GPS, and even the older ones of those should have the ability to at least come up with a choice of close intersections.

Otherwise, I think being able to browse by intersection is good enough. (Who really wants to type out an address anyway when you can choose from a list, especially if you're on an older phone that may not have a QWERTY keyboard?)


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Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1200 1ST ST SE   
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CORMAN CONSTRUCTION / PAMELA STRICKLAND
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SUPPORT OF EXCAVATION FOR DC WATER OWNED SEWER STRUCTURE CSO 009 / 011A
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CARLOS DIAZ / JOSEPH SEMPER; CARLOS DIAZ; JOSEPH SEMPER
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ROBIN SANTILLAN / ROBIN SANTILLAN; ROBIN SANTILLAN; CARLOS MONTES
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FC 1331 LLC / OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY
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TYPE OF ELEVATOR : ONE (1) TRACTION / STEEL / CENTRAL / VERTICAL TRANSPOTATION LICENSE NUMBER : ELC1300386 ISSUE DATE : 08 / 04 / 2014 EXPIRATION DATE 11-30-2015
   
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FC 1331 LLC / OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY
EN1501334 / SHOP DRAWING
TYPE OF ELEVATOR : TWO (2) TRACTION / STEEL / CENTRAL / VERTICAL TRANSPOTATION LICENSE NUMBER : ELC1300386 ISSUE DATE : 08 / 04 / 2014 EXPIRATION DATE 11-30-2015
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07/15/15 
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