Monday, August 10, 2009

Hot or Not on Google Maps - Updated

ScenicOrNot

ScenicOrNot is an interesting project from MySociety to find the most attractive places in Britain. The site uses a 'hot or not' format to get users to rate photographs taken around the UK. The site includes a leaderboard of the most scenic locations, as voted on by the crowd, and each photograph includes a link to view it on a Google Map.

One reason this project could be really successful is that the site is leveraging the 1,426,857 pictures submitted to Geograph. The Geograph British Isles project is aiming to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland. By crowdsourcing the rating of these photographs ScenicOrNot are presumably hoping to eventually produce a fairly accurate 'attractiveness' map for the UK.

Barry Hunter of Geograph has also produced this Google Map showing the locations of the top rated photographs by ScenicOrNot. The images are shown on the map as small thumbnails. Clicking on the thumbnail image will open an information window with a larger picture of the same image.

It is easy to see how having data that contains the attractiveness of most places in a country could be very lucrative. Real estate companies are just one potential customer of such data.

ScenicOrNot say they are gathering the data for a 'secret project'. They provide a link to the secret project 'Mapumental', which contains this video:



As you can see from the video the project shows users commute times on all public transport, including buses, trains, trams and the tube. Combine the commute data with house property prices and you have a sophisticated search application for house buyers.

Once Mapumental add in their attractiveness ratings from ScenicOrNot to the map, you can quickly see how the resulting map becomes very useful. Potential properties can be assessed not only for how long it would take to get to work but also for how attractive the place is to live.

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