Become Mayor of your town!

Well, in a virtual sense at least. Foursquare is a fast-growing location-based game that allows you to ‘check-in’ to locations from your mobile device that is shared with users and your community of friends. As well as showing where people are, thanks to GPS technology, you can provide tips and advice about a specific location. Think of it in terms of a real-time version of Trip Advisor.

In offering this information, you earn ‘badges’ and when you’ve collected enough, you are considered influential enough to be given the keys to your city in the shape of a virtual ‘Mayorship’ of the location where you checked- in. This concept reflects foursquare’s slogan, “Unlocking your city.”

Microsoft recently commissioned the development of a new Application from the team at Earthware using the Silverlight Bing Maps Control so you can now see where Foursquare users are checking-in via Microsoft’s Bing Maps in real time.

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Click on ‘Map Apps’ bottom left and you’ll see a menu which shows Foursquare Everywhere. The mapping facility within the App is seamless, enabling ultra-fast zoom functionality. As it loads, you’ll see tips from users who have tagged a location with additional information. A continually updated flow of ‘check-ins’ is presented on the left of the screen and as you zoom out to a country or global view, Foursquare check-ins are indicated as pinpoints on the map.

Checking the box “auto-center the map on new updates” allows you to watch the map fly around the world as people check in everywhere!  If you’re not seeing data on the map, chances are you’re zoomed into an area where people aren’t playing Foursquare so either move the map or zoom out. If you click on one of the pieces of data pinned to the map you’ll get a pop up with the name of the location which you can click to zoom down.

Speaking at the Where 2.0 conference in California recently, Bing Maps’ architect Blaise Agüera y Arcas demonstrated the new Foursquare Everywhere feature on the Bing Maps platform, which was a proud moment for the Earthware team. Agüera y Arcas described the service as a “mash-in” rather than a “mash-up”, with Bing Maps working as a surface on top of which different applications and services can be integrated.


“With a mash-in model like this, the interaction is much more rich and fluid than with a traditional mash-up technique, as everything is discoverable in one place,” he said.

Ensuring user privacy, Bing Maps only shows information from the Foursquare API that users have agreed to share. Users can select their own privacy settings, allowing them to decide if they want to share their location, for example. Bing Maps doesn’t store any user information provided through the Foursquare Everywhere App, as it streams data directly to the map in real time.

If you would like to find out more about map Apps, Bing Maps or Silverlight please get in touch with us.