In my quest for following biketour (that this year I only spectate), I  dived into the new water of the web and been trying to keep swimming into the same direction 😉

The intention was to have an online diary about what  is happening and happened with biketour, having context (mainly geo, as it is a travel project after all), but making it in way that most of it will “run automatically” 😉

The history:

Well, last year I setup twitter accounts for the group and we use it internally and as a way of updating the website. While twitter is still the best free “tool” in what comes to multi-recipient “on-the-road” sms communication, it also works great for bridging that with the online world. When I resumed this year the “IT task” of biketour, one of my goals was to have twitter better integrated on the website and later on a blog.

Till now, one of the annoyances of twitter is it’s lack of a group feature. This makes the following/followers managing too repetitive, but also noticeable by offering no native combined feeds. One work around was to rely on 3rd parties to aggregate this streams.

I played already last year with Yahoo Pipes, and created a mashup of the organization process feeds. But this year I wanted to address other problems: getting the full text of each “tweet” (?) , and adding geo-references automatically whenever there would be locations mentioned.

 

Titter full text updates on a new stream :

This pipe is the result of my tests. It scraps , fetches each “tweet” permalink page for its full text , only when there’s “…” in the description (trying not to hammer more their poor servers). I made it ask for a RSS (not user account) because I wanted to feed it with another pipe that provides several accounts feeds, a solution around the close of “with friends”. I’m open to suggestions on how to improve it 😉

 

Auto post stream geo-referenced (geonames) – for wordpress with geopress and FeedWordPress :

What about combining that feeds with the blog (wordpress)? And why not doing it automatically? That’s was possible with “FeedWordPress” (WP-o-Matic had some problems and FeedWordPress supports deleting at once all the posts imported, which is great for when you are still testing around).

But what if you could also leave all that work of geotagging each post in the hands of the “machines” ?  I am using geopress (geomashup was appealing but had more problems with themes and other plugins) for the geo part , and wanted to turn “tweets” that mention locations in a point in the database and attach a map in the bottom. It’s possible with simple text tags that you can insert on the post itself.

So, I went and tried patching up geonames rsstogeorss (being used a lot within other pipes) with (Find nearby populated place / reverse geocoding) to get the place name (a bit redundant, but geonames doesn’t identify the place found in rsstogeorss). Then, if anything found it would be added to the title and description.

I’m not so satisfied with this results:

  • geonames results are worse than expected (and I wasn’t waiting for miracles), but the worse is that when you restrict it to a specific country it thinks that most items are referring to that country indeed. (maybe there’s something involved with feeding it with more than 20 items?)
  • yahoo pipes engine itself seems to mess with non-ASCII . While I have something like “Santarém” showing up right in an element, when I copy it as a variable to build a string the text gets messed up

Would love to hear your impressions…