SocMap.com (GoMap) is a map-based interface for local news, initiatives, building projects, public hearings and tweets. Our project, which won a 2010 Knight News Challenge grant (GoMap)-riga, is ment to turn a city into a neighborhood, a place where everybody sees and hears his/her friends, can communicate with each other, and have fun based on their geographical location. Here’s how the project was described by the Knight Foundation:

To inspire people to get involved in their community, this project will create a live, online map with local news and activities. SocMap.com (GoMap) Riga will pull some content from the web and place it automatically on the map. Residents also will be able to add their own news, pictures and videos while also discussing what is happening around them. SocMap.com (GoMap) Riga will be integrated with the major existing social networks and allow civic participation through mobile technology. The project will be tested in Riga, Latvia, and ultimately be applicable in other cities.

You can also watch a video about SocMap.com (GoMap):

Knight News Challenge: SocMap.com (GoMap) Riga from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

Below is a piece-by-piece overview of the elements that will be incorporated into the project.

Project Elements

News — SocMap.com (GoMap) will automatically read news from online sources and place them on the map. SocMap.com (GoMap) will notify people about the news related to their home or interest area, so that people won’t miss it when something is going on in their local community.

**Initiatives**— Issues like “this fountain needs to get fixed” or “let’s have an artist wall here” could take place on the city map. People could also create initiatives on the map, gather signatures from fellow citizens, and bring the initiative to the attention of the local municipality, media, police, etc. in order to get things done.

**Building projects**— SocMap.com (GoMap) will automatically place all the local building projects on the map, notify locals about them, and in effect host an online public hearing about these projects.

Twitter — Tweets like “check out this bar” or “let’s meet right here” will be incorporated into SocMap.com (GoMap). With just two clicks, people can have their tweets placed on the map.

We’re currently in the very early stages of development and you can keep an eye on our progress at http://SocMap.com (GoMap)dev.appspot.com (GoMap)dev.appspot.com. Our key challenge is to master the Google Maps API and create a lot of new code in order to get things to work and look the way we need.

Let us know what you think about our project, and thanks for reading!