Over the past few years, an increasing number of geo-services and location-based services have become available to the online community. For example, 3D viewing and street-level imagery from Bing, spatial data layers and services from ArcGIS Online, and georeferencing through GeoNames. Additionally, new types of location-based and crowd-sourced data services provide traffic data (Yahoo!), information on earthquakes (USGS), photography trends (Flickr), local reviews (Yelp), WiFi-based automatic georeferencing (Skyhook), just to name but a few.
As GIS developers, we can leverage these services (and data) in different ways to build new and exciting applications.
Integrating geo-services into ArcGIS Explorer
ArcGIS Explorer provides developers with a framework to integrate with virtually any type of online service. Application extensions can be written by developing custom “add-in” extensions with .NET.
In the ArcGIS Explorer Labs, you can find a number of sample add-ins that highlight integrating with different services. For example, there’s one that displays Bing’s bird’s-eye imagery, one that displays Yahoo! traffic information, and another that allows you to execute a Yellow Pages search from within the application itself.
The Twitter geolocation API
One of the newest services to provide support for geolocation is Twitter. Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that gives users the ability to send or receive short (140 character) status messages (tweets). This can be accomplished from a wide variety of applications and devices.
With the recent addition of geolocation support, users now have the ability to send geolocation information (Latitude/Longitude) with each status message. This is known as “geotagging your tweet” or “geotweeting” for short. Since this functionality is only available through the new Twitter API, only applications that consume the API and that are location aware can support geotweeting.
It is important to note that applications can only geotag tweets if users have explicitly set their accounts to support geotagging. Learn more about geotagging tweets and geo-enabling your account here.
The ArcGIS Explorer Twitter add-in
The Twitter add-in for ArcGIS Explorer gives you the ability to geotag your tweets and perform a number geospatial operations against the Twitter API.
Here’s a quick break-down of what you can do:
- Map Tweets: Login to visualize all of your tweets on a map (2D and 3D).
- GeoTweet: Send a geotweet about what’s happening at a certain location and provide some information that others might find helpful.
I noticed a traffic incident on the I10 near the Alabama exit. You may want to avoid this area for the next little while. #Traffic #Redlands
<34.0666, -117.20872> (Geotag)
- Search: Perform distance or keyword searches and display these on the map.
- Explore: Interact with the map and show popups to see what people are saying, and where.
- Create Notes: Convert tweets to Notes and use them with other ArcGIS Explorer tools (find, measure, directions, route etc.).
- Share: Save the map, upload it to ArcGIS Online and share it with others.
- Integrate: Further integrate with other ArcGIS Explorer add-ins or ArcGIS services to perform more advanced geospatial and geoprocessing operations.
Here are a few snapshots of what you can do.
This is just one example of how geo-services can be integrated with GIS applications such as ArcGIS Explorer. With a steady stream new web development frameworks and geolocation services, there are many other interesting and powerful applications that can be developed.
So if you are interested in exploring what’s happening in the Twitter world, or if you are just looking for ideas of how to build future geo-service based applications, feel free to download this extension and try it out.
Steps to download and install the plug-in
1. Download and Install ArcGIS Explorer.
2. Download the Twitter add-in.
3. Turn on geotagging for your twitter account (instructions here).
4. Send geotweets or search for tweets!
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