November 3rd, 2011, 08:34 AM
Needed: map and profile based search for social/environmental projects.
A little background.
My name is Daniel Connell, for the last two years I've been working on an open source solar energy device ( solarflower.org ) and some other bits of approtech.
Currently I'm working with Open Source Ecology Europe ( oseeurope.org ) with the aim of setting up both individual sustainable communities, and a generalised Europe wide network. We're also fairly closely tied to opensourceecology.org
Basically we're going to be bringing together a lot of different information and data, and it doesn't look like currently there's a good, open engine to make all that nicely accessible and usable.
So, what we want is for a user to be able to locate resources. These can be other people, groups and projects, land/workspace, materials, etc. Each of these resources would have its own profile, containing their geographical location, contact info, basic media, and various databased keyword searchable texts.
The user is likely to interact with the search engine in one of two simlar ways; either to locate a resource by geography, or by keyword. The former if they're looking for something local to themselves (other people working on similar projects, workspaces...) and the latter if they're looking for information through the web (feedback, technical advice, international collaboration...)
The search would be based on a map, and the user would either navigate to a certain area, then add keywords and filters via drop downs, text fields etc to locate the resource they're after, or would just filter if physical location isn't important.
Beside the search fields would be a list of profiles with some preview information. This would be updated as filters and location are set.
The perfect existing example of this being Couchsurfing.org's couchsearch engine:
Most of these resources would be entered into the system by individual users, ie people making a profile for themselves, or their project, or tagging things they think would be useful. In addition I would like to see a European survey roadtrip for the purpose of locating viable land and projectspaces, abandoned villages, empty buildings etc (there are a _lot) and doing complete databased profiles of every aspect that could help a person or group find it and start their community or project there (rainfall, soil type, structures, legal issues, photos, maps...)
All this represents a huge amount of data, there needs to be a way of filtering it down in a usable, openly available way, and I get the feeling other projects around the world would find it just as essential.
So if you're looking to contribute your talents to something which will be of significant value to worthwhile projects, we could really use your input.