Here’s something new – mysociety.org in the UK is introducing their new service called Mapumental. It’s a dumb name, but at least they didn’t call it Mapology… In any case, the video that explains is it well worth watching:
I always talk about how innovation is often simply the act of making new connections. Mapumental illustrates this perfectly. It starts with information about public transportation routes, which is freely available. Then it adds on data about median house prices (at what appears to be a pretty fine level of granularity). The final piece of the puzzle (at least for now) is that they added in crowdsourced data evaluating the scenicness of all of the locations on the map. So you can find neighborhoods based on average travel time to any point on the map via public transport, filtered by affordability and scenicness!
While the idea of combining these things is fairly simple, it sounds like the technical challenge of putting it all together was substantial. I’m looking forward to learning more about that as they release further information. It should a good demonstration of the gap between having a great idea and turning it into something that is usable (the difference between invention and innovation). I’m also looking forward to seeing what other information filters they will add to the service. Overall, it’s a really nice illustration an innovation that is primarily a new combination of things that already exist.