News of the World



Winner of the HP webOS developer event at The Guardian.

This prototype is an experimental approach for exploring content (e.g. news, reviews and photos) about any place on earth.

See the demo: (Warning: utterly non-optimised at the moment)

Starting at the reader's current location, a magazine-style page of content is pulled in for that place (e.g. a one mile square centred on Kings Cross, London). The reader can then slide the page in any of eight compass directions (north, east, south, west, nw, ne, sw, se), to re-centre the magazine at that new location (e.g. a one mile square centred on Hillingdon).

We've divided the world into a grid of cells, and the user can slide between any of the cells to view the content that it contains. Articles of content are linked through to their original source: e.g. a travel article from The Guardian, or a note on the history of a place from Wikipedia.

We built a native app for the HP TouchPad tablet. Happily, because this uses standard web technologies (HTML, JavaScript and CSS), it also works in a simple web browser.

The format is ideally suited to a tablet like the TouchPad: location-aware, tactile navigation, content for reading and exploring while on the move. The magazine might be used to explore content around a particular part of the world, or to follow the user on a journey.

Working in the same, familiar way as the "slippy map" of Google Maps, we provide an intuitive mechanism for browsing, though one that we have never seen in this form before.

The content could be taken from any data source that contains geo information. In our prototype, we use the Guardian Open Platform's travel pages and the Geonames Wikipedia web service.

[On the day that the News of the World closed down]

Ideas for taking this project forward

We would like to explore user-curated content types, zooming in and out to widen or narrow a search, adding an actual geographical map as an accompanying layer, and a number of innovations on the user interface.

Estimated costs for taking this project forward

£15K would be ideal seed funding for setting up a simple, well polished application.

About the data used for this project

Guardian Open Platform's travel pages and the Geonames Wikipedia web service.

We used Node.js and Django Python to process the data from the remote APIs, creating JSON files to be consumed by the mobile app.

Project URL:

Twitter: @premasagar @symroe @a_fiore

Created at

HP webOS Developer Event

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