Platial is a unique and flexible web site that incorporates the visual power and organization of a GIS with the reverse chronological posting capabilities of a blog. It incorporates this with tagging and comments which make it a very powerful geographically aware experiential database.
Platial has two main components, a hosted web application and a MapKit - an easy to implement tool that places a version of the Platial application on a web site or external blog.
What Makes Platial Unique
Platial's use of the reverse chronological blogging post design pattern in coupled with a GIS engine is a killer app for bloggers who need posts to be spatially aware. The maps give great and immediate context to the posts. You can see where things happened. That's incredible!
A quick look at my Platial blog, The Hopeful Connoisseur, shows the power of the reverse chronology.
Platial's use of tagging can be artfully applied to make situational maps that further enhance the blogging features of Platial. I was able to link from my main blog to a tag in my platial blog to have a mini-blog about just my trip to the Bay Area last weekend. These are posts tagged Half Moon Trip 2007.
The tagging eliminates the need to create new maps and can leave specific events subsumed under a main map.
How Platial Can Be Even Better
Platial is missing a few key features that would make it deliriously great.
- Accessible Tagging. - On the main page, instead of huge irrelevant google ads, or maybe even just above them, put my tag cloud.
- Reverse Chronological Posts in the MapKit - The posts are the market differentiator between Platial and other services like Plazes. Currently, there is a list of places next to the map. Since I can already see them on the map, this isn't too useful to me. This isn't an either/or proposition as I note in 3.
- Let the user decide - Give either the blog owner or the end user the choice to switch back and forth from seeing places or posts in the right column.
- Layering for additional flag and event types - As you can see above, ya get one flag. I'd like to be able to separate out dining out, cooking, and personal events on my map. Again, this is part of an event-centered use of the GIS interface.
Blogged at Gray Hill Harbor Offices in Seattle using Windows Live Writer