Why it’s cooler in Vancouver with WP7

From Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue came VanGuide, an application that mashes up City of Vancouver’s data, data from private sources, as well as user-generated landmarks enabling user tagging, comments, and ratings. It’s available for web, iPhone, and *now* Windows Phone 7.

VanGuide is a social map of Vancouver. It automatically plots landmarks provided by open government data, like schools and public transit stops, onto a map of Vancouver. It’s also interactive – users can sign in through Twitter to create their own landmarks on the map; a favourite restaurant or work location, for example. These personal landmarks can then be publicly shared with all VanGuide users who are able to comment on and rate the locations. A neat one to take a look at is the landmark for GM Place, where Canada had its big Olympic hockey win!

This app was originally developed through collaboration between Microsoft and Nitobi, and it was later brought to life on the Windows Phone 7 platform by developer Mark Arteaga. It’s been widely acknowledged as a great sample application for the potential of WP7: “Thanks to developers like Mark Arteaga sharing solid know-how and code samples, applications like VanGuide become the seed that can be planted in many pots and by that the planter’s creativity derives a new and exciting offering,” says Microsoft WP7 Evangelist Anthony Bartolo.

The code for the application is open & available on Codeplex. Arteaga encourages its use and is ready to incorporate feedback from the community:

“It’s great to find your code on the web and see how developers have used it… The application is very flexible and feedback can be incorporated very easily. We would also accept changes that the developer community has done and is willing to contribute back to the source tree.”

Curious about developing for WP7? Arteaga shared his experience with www.webnotwar.ca.