Introducing Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder (Gowalla MILF)

Today I released a tool named Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder (Gowalla MILF for short) which lets you locate Gowalla spots near you which contain items which are missing from your vault.

Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — Welcome Screen
Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — Welcome Screen

Development

The project was built in an afternoon, excluding the time fiddling with the (basic) Gowalla API and excluding the styling. Under the hood of Gowalla MILF one can find PHP, Spoon Library, Google-Geocoding-Class along with some extra custom classes such as one which communicates with the Gowalla API. Other technologies used are Google Maps (V2) and jQuery.

Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — The Results
Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — The Results

A vast amount of time was spent on minimizing the load on both my server and the Gowalla (API) server:

  • Templates are pre-compiled, which is done by Spoon itself.
  • All calls made to the API are cached into a database for two hours. This to prevent hitting a rate limit (is there any?)
  • The coordinates used for fetching of the locations/items near a lat-lng pair are rounded to three digits, resulting in the same API calls for two sets of coordinates which are very close to eachother (and resulting in more cache hits).
  • The transparent images used – which are fetched from Gowalla and then processed by PHP – are cached on disk, taking some load off my server when the same image is requested over and over.

For now the tool does not use Gowalla’s OAuth capabilities as I wanted to keep it simple to implement. However, OAuth might make into it as it would no long require one to have Gowalla Passport Security set to off whilst fechting his/her user info. Gowalla MILF now sports OAuth, read the announcement here.

Design

The design — if you can call that a design — is pretty straight forward and is built around the main map which one can see. Below are some extra screenshots of some special scenarios that might appear (no location, no items, no interesting spots or no spots at all)

Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — No location (hometown not set)
Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — No location (hometown not set)

Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — Passport Privacy (No items)
Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — Passport Privacy (No items)

Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — No loot (no interesting spots around here)
Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — No loot (no interesting spots around here)

Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — No dice (no spots around here)
Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder — No dice (no spots around here)

The used icons in the sidebar were all found via iconfinder.net

Happy item hunting! Now, go check out Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder!

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6 Responses to Introducing Gowalla Missing Items Location Finder (Gowalla MILF)

  1. Pingback: Bram.us » Gowalla MILF, now with OAuth

  2. Nico says:

    Knap. Je moet misschien wel eens een nieuwe naam bespreken met je marketing department als je het in andere geografieen wil doordringen, of op zijn minst met zicht op Google SEO πŸ˜‰ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MILF

  3. Bramus! says:

    @Nico: I know, that’s the whole clue behind the name of Gowalla MILF. Some Twitter user even suggested renaming it to “Gowalla MILF Finder”, hits guaranteed πŸ˜€

  4. Pingback: Bram.us » PHP Advent Calendar

  5. Segeda says:

    Hi,
    nice work and very useful tool. But: Can you change page charset to utf-8? I have problem with non-ANSI characters.
    Thanks

  6. Pingback: On Gowalla, Facebook, Instagram, Path, and Storytelling | Bram.us

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