Monthly Archives September 2011

API Hackday ATX Recap

2008325957 2 API Hackday ATX Recap

To cap off the action-packed week that was the first ever Austin Startup Week, we, along with Twilio, Mashery, SendGrid, Cloudera and Hoovers sponsored API Hackday ATX.  Over 30 developers, hackers, designers and data nerds gathered together to spend their Saturdays hacking away on new APIs.  From a ten-hour haze of caffeine, tacos, bananas and beef jerkey emerged 6 awesome apps from our intrepid teams of weekend warriors.

Need to send yourself a quick reminder about that thing you have to do next week?  Just remembered your mom’s birthday is on Thursday and don’t want to forget to buy her a present on Wednesday?  Never fear, SMScal is here!  This app uses the Twilio API to allow users to send themselves text reminders.  It’s got both web and text interfaces.  Check it out!

Other apps using Twilio: ListSMS (create lists with text messages)


Are you a high volume Craiglists user who gets a ton of spam?  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a better system for vetting the dozens or hundreds of emails you receive daily?  Try Craptcha (working name and not available online yet), which uses Twilio and Infochimps IP Intelligence Geolocation APIs to create a vetted voicemail system for handling high call volume on Craigslist ads.

Other apps using Infochimps: Application Trail, Cop Connection, Re-Tweeter


Application Trail
If you’ve ever hiked the Appalachian Trail, you know that (a) it can be tough to figure out where to sleep each night and (b) cell phone service is surprisingly good.  The Application Trail (brilliantly named by our very own, Dhruv Bansal) uses Mashery and Infochimps Foursquare Places APIs to create a mobile app for locating hotel and bars in your nearby area.  It even offers an option for booking hotel rooms!


Cop Connection
Cop Connection is a professional network tool for police officers.  It uses the SendGrid API to handle emails and Infochimp’s Qwerly API to do social media account lookups based on email address (also works to input a Twitter handle, Facebook username, etc to return social handles).  The goal is for this to ultimately become a secure network with which police officers can share investigative information.

Thanks everyone for participating!  We’ve got plans to do more of these in the future with some of these same partners, so stay tuned for more days of hack-hack-hackery with us!

See you at TechCrunch Disrupt and FOSS4G!

It’s been a busy week here in Austin, TX with the first ever Austin Startup Week. We’ve met lots of amazing folks working at startups, venture capital firms and bigger companies. Tonight, we dive into some Big Data Love with our friends from Ravel and tomorrow, perhaps the event we are most excited for this whole week – API Hackday ATX.

acquia prosper logo See you at TechCrunch Disrupt and FOSS4G!In addition to these great local Austin events, we’ve also sent some chimp ambassadors to two other big conferences happening this coming week.  Our very own geographer, Sophia Parafina will be teaching a workshop on Deploying Map Services in Amazon Web Services at FOSS4G.  The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 13 from 1pm – 4pm and we’re sure that anyone who attends will gain a ton from Sophia’s decades of experience in this field!

logo  See you at TechCrunch Disrupt and FOSS4G!Also, we’re sending two of our newest chimps, Jim England and Tim Gasper (of the recently acquired, Keepstream) to TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 in San Francisco.  We’re sponsoring this weekend’s hackathon and we’re excited to share our new Geo API with the Disrupt attendees.

So, where you’re in Austin, Denver or San Francisco this weekend and next week – we’d love to see you!  Come our and say hi to a chimp in person.

Mapping Tools for Developers

old world map Mapping Tools for Developers

This is a great time to be a geodeveloper. There’s more spatial data, geo-processing tools, geo enabled storage and mapping tools than ever.

Let’s start with storage – not too long ago geo developers had two choices, file formats or proprietary object-relational databases. Today there are production ready open source object-relational databases such as PostgreSQL/PostGIS and MySQL; even mobile devices have lightweight databases with spatial capabilities such as SQLite. In addition to traditional object-relational databases, NoSQL databases such as Cassandra, CouchDB, and MongoDB have a spatial capabilities. Big Table clones such as Hbase can also store spatial data and there is ongoing work for developing a spatial index which facilitates spatial queries and operations. Neo4J is a graph database that also handles spatial data. Finally, even full text search engines such as ElasticSearch provide geospatial search capabilities.


Infochimps Acquires Keepstream

infochimpsheartskeepstream Infochimps Acquires Keepstream

We are excited to announce that Keepstream, social media curation and analytics company, will be joining the Infochimps family!  Jim England, Huston Hoburg, and myself, Tim Gasper are excited to now be Chimps. Together we’ll continue to develop exciting new data products and rock the world of Big Data.

With this announcement, we have two pieces of product news. Firstly, the Keepstream hand-curation product will slowly close down. The website will be set to “read-only mode” on September 30th. New user registration will be turned off and existing users will no longer be able to create or edit their collections. However, all collections will still be hosted online and be accessible at for viewing. So don’t worry, those links you’ve shared will still work just fine. We will be exploring options for exporting collections or integrating with similar curation services. If you’d be interested in something like this, leave me a note at tim[at]keepstream[dot]com.

Secondly, Keepstream Reports, located at, will continue forward. It has the potential to be both a more automated way to archive social media as well as a way to create beautiful, actionable social media analytics reports. It’s currently in private beta.

We are really excited about we can accomplish together, you can look forward to many exciting developments soon to come!  Also, Jim and I will be attending TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco next week.  If you’ll be there too, we’d love to meet you.  Just look for us in our brand new Infochimps shirts or shoot us a tweet at @JimEngland or @TimGasper.

The Summarizer: The Infochimps Cure for Geolocation Overload

Last week, we revealed our brand new Infochimps Geo APIs. Not only are our APIs chock full of millions of points of interest and contextual data, but the schema is also dead simple to learn and implement. And since all the new Geo APIs are unified under the same schema, no matter what location data you are looking to access, the API should always work exactly as you’d expect it too.

In the process of developing our new Geo APIs, we developed one very important and useful feature: The Summarizer. It makes presenting venues user-friendly by intelligently clustering locations, and you can take advantage of it automatically. Let’s dive in a little deeper so you can see exactly what we’re talking about.

texas churches all1 The Summarizer: The Infochimps Cure for Geolocation Overload

The image above is a plot of all the churches in Texas, taken from Geonames Places. Cyan is Dallas, blue is Austin, green is San Antonio, and purple is Houston. As you can easily see, there are way more points being plotted than it makes sense to present to the user. The common remedy is to present a smaller sample of data. In practice though, that sample ends up being more random than not.


Win a Super Pass to Strata NYC!

StrataImage Win a Super Pass to Strata NYC!

Surely, you are familiar with that old adage, “Sharing is caring”.  For O’Reilly Strata New York 2011, our very own Flip Kromer will be delivering a talk about the importance of open data, the value of context and the amazing things that can happen when you share.  You can read more about his talk here.

Afraid you won’t be able to make it since your company hasn’t bought you a pass yet or you can’t afford one yourself?  Well, the folks at O’Reilly have bestowed upon us one Super Pass for Strata NYC that we will be giving away on Twitter!  The coveted Super Pass gives you access to events on all five days including Jumpstart, the Summit and the Conference.

All you have to do is send a tweet containing the link for our awesome new Geo API:  That’s it!  We’ll select one winner today at 5pm CT and that person will receive a super secret code that will comp them for a Super Pass.  How cool is that?

Want to learn more about the conference?  We’ve got the full rundown, plus a 30% off discount code for you after the jump!