Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Google Maps Starbucks, Tim Horton's Coffee Finder Update

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Pentura Solutions continues to improve the most caffeinated Google Maps mashup on the web. FindByClick.com is the place to find 10,418 Starbucks locations in the US, Canada and Hong Kong and 3,046 Tim Hortons locations in Canada, US and Afghanistan (yes, Afghanistan). They have completely overhauled the user interface (it looks fantastic) and have added heaps more locations. They have links (on this page - look at the very bottom) to copies of the Tim Hortons and Starbucks databases used in this mashup, in case someone wants to create their own mashup! Be sure to also find the 4 Easter Eggs on this site.. and post a comment when you find them!

The FindByClick team is able to index more locations than Starbucks and Tim Hortons' own store finder apps through a small but growing community of volunteers that help them tweak and expand their database.

Pentura's Kevin MacDonald has this to say about the growing FindByClick community:

"..We have been helped by individuals in Ireland, Germany, Canada and Hong Kong. One member of our community is Vinko Tsui from Hong Kong. He was responsible for compiling the location and other attributes for all Starbucks in Hong Kong. Over time, we expect to rely solely on our community of volunteers to keep expanding our database rather than the data feeds we currently receive directly from Tim Hortons and Starbucks. If you are interested in mapping and would like to help us out, please visit our site and go to the community page for more information."

Other parts of the site include:

FindByClick's Mobile Service - Check out how you can bring this Coffee Finder with you and never go without knowing where that Starbucks is across the US or where the nearest Tim Horton's location is to where your son/daughter is playing hockey this weekend!

FindByClick Coffee Stats - Lots of interesting stats, maps and tables about Tim Hortons and Starbucks in the US and Canada. Kevin shares these fun stats for both Starbucks and Tim Hortons with us:
  • Vermont has the fewest number (4) of Starbucks of any state; Wyoming is second with 12.
  • Nova Scotia has the highest per-capita concentration of Tim Hortons of any province (18.73 stores per 100,000 people); New Brunswick comes second with 15.75 followed by Prince Edward Island -- The Maritimes sure loves their Tim Hortons!
  • District of Columbia has the highest per-capita concentration of Starbucks of any state (12 per 100,000 people); Washington comes second (9.77 per 100,000)
..And more from Kevin on the technical aspects of this great mashup:

The FindByClick main web page is divided into fixed-sized cells. The content and user-interaction within each cell is handled by a portlet. One portlet handles the selection of coffee brands, another, the list of coffee shops; other portlets handle the map itself, placename selection, and a "people spotlight" at the top-right corner of the page.

Each portlet is a JavaScript object that resides and runs within the browser. A portal controller manages the initialization and execution of these portlet objects and periodically returns control back to the browser so that it can handle its own events (otherwise, the browser would "lock up" like a confused AJAX application.)

Portlets access data on the server through a set of proxy services, which are also managed by the portal controller. Each proxy service is connected, asynchronously, to a Java-based web services running back on the server.

Check out the FindByClick Coffee Map Mashup to find out if there's a closer Starbucks than the one you're regularly visiting.. or if you're traveling, use it to scope out where you'll get your fix of that coveted Starbucks or Tim Hortons brew!
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