Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sam Giffney and Zenbu Directory, Search and Mapping

Here's an article by about Sam Giffney and his development of which is New Zealand's premier [and Cook Islands] free, on-line, GPS based, directory, search and mapping of places of interest.

It's a way to find things such as businesses, parks, hospitals, schools, public toilets, and anything else which you might see a sign outside when walking down a street.

It's a top iPhone app in New Zealand. It can be downloaded to iPhones so that even without an internet connection, people can check the Zenbu app to see where things are that they want to find. With the "find nearest" function, the places closest to any particular place or a Zenbu listing are easily located. is part of the creative commons realm.

Anyone can register and enter points of interest and edit other entries. Zenbu depends on people doing so because that's the way it's built - swarms of people adding and editing things of interest to them.

The database can be downloaded, with attribution, and used in anyone's websites such as has been done by the Mangere Bridge community. Simply enter "ASB" or "Naomi and Bill Kirk Park" or "cemetery" or "cafe" or "petrol" or "pizza" or "pharmacy" or "school" or whatever is of interest and locations, names, phone numbers and some information are shown on the map with links to the places if available.

Zenbu is also the name of Zenbu wifi wireless internet hotspots in Auckland and around New Zealand so they are easily confused. Zenbu directory, search, mapping and wifi work together in an integrated system.

If a wifi user is located at a Zenbu wireless internet hotspot, then the Zenbu system knows where they are even if they don't [tourists are easily lost] and can show them where they are on a map and the Zenbu points of interest closest to them.

Check out Google latitude too. You can get your location and that of your friends and contacts right there on your mobile device. Zenbu wifi hotspots have been uploaded to Skyhook to form part of the global location mesh to feed into Google Latitude.

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