A while back i posted a rant complaining about GPS and GeoData in Ireland. Well, today while reading the ProgrammableWeb Site, i found this: The US yellow pages Telephone directory as a Web API. Now, ok, its not free (pricing depends on number of hits, but anywhere from 1.2c to 20c, less for the more you buy), but this is handy. using the US postal code system, a phone client could send the web service a postal code, and state, and get results, and then give directions. this could be extreamly usefull.

Take the following example: Last christmas i was in town for something, and arrived nearly an hour and a half early for what ever was going on. It was Thursday night, Late november, early December (cant remember exactly) and nearly every shop in the City center was open. At this time i was looking for a home cinema kit, and with an hour and a half to spare, i wanted to find somewhere which would be open. Now, if this syste worked, i could take out the phone, enter some info (“hifi store”) and hit locate. it should then list phone numbers, locations, and names, etc. ideally, you should be then able to call the store, make sure they are open, and get directions.

now, i have told some people this idea before, and some looked at me like it was some futuristic idea that would be posible in a few years (well, maybe posible in Ireland in a few years, but posible everywhere else in the world, nearly, now). Take, as an example, the Golden pages. If they where to add an API so you could query their DB, and ask for info, you would be half way there. without geo tagging the info, you could use mapping software already on the phone/device to get you to the place your looking for. If the golden pages where to go one step futher and GeoTag the data, life would be a lot easer.

As a second though on this, the next issue to be solved is actually making all the data usable by all Navigation companies. There would have to be a world wide standard for this (so companies only have to have one method call to get info, and just depding on location, call different web services). when it comes to money, some things may have to be worked out. Ideally, it should be free (or as cheap as posible) to allow all companies to use it when they need to. But, how does the Golden Pages, etc, make money? Simple: Advertising. At the moment, the golden pages (at least in Ireland) sell ad space in their book. if a company wants to be heigher in the list of potential companies, they could pay more. maybe even link to a mobile website for customers to read, mobile catalogs, etc. the ideas are endless. Default, cheap listing would basicly have the companies category, name, phone number and location. but for a bit more, they would have logos, email addresses, web sites, more info, etc.

Now if only someone could actually make this happen!