I have been working at a snail’s pace on some geolocation queries on some locations which are associated with Charles Dickens.
Using Python’s NLTK library, I managed to extract around 60 distinct locations from his novel, Bleak House. A bit of human editing has tidied this up for me but it looks useful.
Having popped this into MySQL as I am more familiar with it than PostgreSQL and returned it using Open Layers, I’ve been looking at ways of having a query which takes the user location (once given permission) and then calculates locations that around a mile away. Or within walking distance. A bit of searching around led me to this Stackoverflow question on finding distances within a certain radius from a given location. The post is also helpful in pointing me towards some of the maths so that when I have some time, I can try to understand the underlying query.
Anyhow, HTML5 to some degree has come to the rescue with its geolocation API. I know it is not a standard at the moment (the draft I saw was 28th June, 2011), but I thought it would be fun to use it to start doing some mapping with the API, courtesy of some guidance from HTML5Doctor and HTML5demos site. It also helps me to re-use some of the data collected for the Open Correspondence project and to bring locations related to Dickens together and make them useful.
What would be interesting to see is the locations surrounding a given latitude and longitude within one mile so that the user could walk to them or find out about them and query them to see if they really want to go to that location.