Today, we’re happy to announce a new way of seeing planning applications from PlanningAlerts.org.au for the iPhone 3GS and Android phones. It uses an augmented reality application called Layar to display recent planning applications in real time over a live image of what your phone is pointed at.
To install follow this link on your mobile phone. If you don’t have Layar installed it will point you at the right place and if you do it should just launch the layer.
This is a new way of seeing what’s changing in your neighbourhood. It uses the same information that gets sent to you via email when you sign up for email alerts.
We’ve also added some information about the layer on the home page.
We built it by integrating the layar code into the PlanningAlerts web app, but that wasn’t strictly necessary. Any developer could have built the service using our API (Application Programming Interface) which allows direct access to the data that drives the site.
This is another example of the power of open data and what can be achieved fairly easily if the access to the raw data is available. Local councils, who publish planning applications on their website, with but a very few exceptions don’t publish the underlying data. One of the biggest tasks that PlanningAlerts does is to get access to the underlying data by screen scraping web pages and then republishing that data for others to enjoy.