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Culture: Website: Location
A Place A Day   (+2)  [vote for, against]
Suggestion of location to visit from user-submitted database

The Narrative (skip ahead to "The Idea" if you're impatient):

I wake up on a lazy day with no plans and no responsibilities. Nevertheless, I am going somewhere. Since I'm feeling a little confined, I log on to the APAD website and restrict potential destinations to the outdoors. Remembering that I am low on gas, I further restrict potential destinations to sites that are within 10 miles of my house. Once I finish entering limitations, the website's database returns a matching spot. It looks like I'm going to hike a little (I had specified in my user account that I was OK with hiking, biking, and canoeing.) and reach a spot that affords a majestic view of the surrounding woods. A previous visitor described it as "breathtaking at sunset" and attached a digital photo. APAD reminds me that sunset will be 8:13 PM tonight. When dusk approaches several hours later, I return to my computer. I print out the directions and grab my car keys.

The Idea:

The APAD web site will be a large database of locations that users deemed important or special enough to want to share. Submitted locations will have an assortment of metadata associated with them. Locations will necessarily have coordinates that a user could provide from a GPS device, or by specifying a place on APAD's map. Locations can be indoors (e.g. a favorite hole-in-the-wall coffee shop) or outdoors (e.g. a secluded but interesting rock formation).

Notations of how to get to the location are required. Can one drive there? Are there bicycle paths? Does the site require hiking? How much? Is the place handicapped-accessible? Checkmark-like options for driving, biking, swimming, et cetera would be used for this.

Further metadata would be optional, but preferable. A time to visit can be specified, including time of day (a range of hours), a sunrise/sunset option that will be linked to a database of sunrise/sunset times, and a season (perhaps the location isn't much to look at in summer but looks amazing after a recent snowfall). Approximate time to spend in transit and at the site can be submitted. Equipment and appropriate clothing can be suggested (If the site's full of songbirds, suggest a tape recorder. If there are mosquitos around, suggest some Off and long pants).

Finally, each location will have a journal area where users who have previously visited the location can post comments. They are also encouraged to upload digital photographs or audio recordings of the site. Visitors can also rate a site.

A new user to APAD can specify in his/her account the location of his/her home, whether he/she can hike (or swim, bicycle, etc.), how far he/she is willing to travel, and how often he/she would like to visit new locations. Maybe he/she could link to or upload a calendar so the website would not suggest locations on busy days.

On each day APAD will suggest a location to visit based on time of day, travel abilities, and the particular restrictions that the user specifies for that day. The user gets a place to visit and his/her wanderlust satisfied for a day.
-- Acme, Aug 16 2004

As a cynical type, I suggest that most people will hold back their truly favorite places and you'll end up with a database of sorta-good spots. Still, nothing wrong with that.
-- bpilot, Aug 16 2004

A million and one places I'd rather be dot net?
-- dpsyplc, Aug 16 2004

I have been wishing for something like this for years.
-- Pericles, Aug 16 2004

Nice. It could be like the HalfBakery, with each place being an 'idea', grouped into categories of place and with user annotations and votes.
-- hippo, Aug 17 2004

Not saying this would be a bad service, but would likely be overrun by advertisements.
-- Lacus Trasumenus, Aug 17 2004

random, halfbakery