Looking for Cool Icons for Google Places?

Came across this a couple of days ago: Map Icons

Map Icons Collection is a set of more than 700 free icons to use as placemarks for your POI (Point of Interests) locations on your maps. You can use them on Google Maps with the “My places / My maps” feature or automatically by using the Google Maps API.

This would look really nice on an app built for the ongoing Google Places API Developer Challenge 🙂 which closes on the 31st of October.
Map Icons: http://bit.ly/U77CLi

API: Google Places, Google Maps – What’s the difference?

The Google Maps API was opened up to developers early back in 2005 and has formed the bedrock of so many map-based/map-related solutions out there. It has become a way for customers to determine the physical location of a business, directions to a destination, view satellite imagery or street maps of a place thousands of kilometres away and others too many to mention, but very useful ways too.

From experience, if you search for seafood (like a close friend of mine who loves seafood), you end up with thousands of results scattered around the world. This is specifically what Google Places is for – Local searches.

People want and need to be able to find businesses close to them and also to be able to make the decision of whether or not that is actually where they want to go. Google places is somewhat of a Directory listing in that it offers a place where you can give detailed information about your business or get information about one such as hours of operation, payment methods accepted, etc. It also lets you see or put up pictures and video to show why the business is above the competition.

So where do developers come in?

The Google Places API is a suite of services for finding and storing information about Places, which are defined within this API as establishments, geographic locations, or prominent points of interest. The Places API was opened up to the public mid-2011.

Four basic Place requests are available:

  1. Place Searches return a list of nearby Places. A user’s location, specified as latitude/longitude coordinates, can be used as the origin for the search. Alternately, a natural language query (e.g. “pizza in New York”) can be used for finding Places.
  2. Place Details requests allow you to retrieve more detailed information about a specific Place, including reviews for the Place and its opening hours.
  3. Place Check-ins (web service only) allow you to report that a user has checked in to a Place. Check-ins affect Places’ rankings in your app’s Place Search results (i.e. frequent check-ins will boost a Place’s rankings).
  4. Place Reports (web service only) allow you to include your own Places in your app’s Place Search results, or for deleting Places that you previously added.

The Places API also offers support for events, which are defined as any type of public or private gathering, performance, or promotion that occurs at a location listed in the Places service.*1 

The ongoing Google Places API Developer Challenge is designed to spur the creation of applications focused on civic needs. And Google is excited to see how you can find solutions to critical needs in areas such as transit, community engagement, education and city management by combining publicly available data sets with the power of the Google Places API.
You can browse the free World Bank data on countries all around the world and their economies including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya
There are also other resources – available under the data section of the resources page.
Think about how to address the needs of our communities by using your skills and expertise to develop useful apps that combine the power of the Google Places API with this diverse set of municipal data sources. 
The prize? All expense paid trip to San Francisco with VIP tickets to Google I/O 2013 AND the opportunity to showcase your app during the I/O event! Priceless.
Deadline for submissions is October 31st.
Let’s get cracking!
*1 – For more information, on the Places API support for events see Events in the Places API.

Google Places API Developer Challenge: Submissions Now Open

This is an exciting last quarter for developers with so many competitions and events going on!

Now here’s a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco and VIP tickets to Google I/O 2013!

The Google Places API Developer Challenge, is an application development event designed to spur the creation of applications focused on civic needs. We’re excited to see how you can find solutions to critical needs in areas such as transit, community engagement, education and city management by combining publicly available data sets with the power of the Google Places API. The developers of the winning applications will receive a VIP experience at Google I/O 2013.
Application submissions begin now and will continue through the end of October. The winning applications will be announced in mid-December. The judging and selection of applications will be performed by a distinguished panel of luminaries with backgrounds in geospatial technology, application development, and civic innovation.
You can find out a lot more here: http://developers.google.com/challenge

Etisalat Introduces Prize for Innovation

The inaugural ‘Etisalat Prize for Innovation’ is aimed at encouraging and celebrating valuable innovation in the African market and will be awarded in 2 categories; both prizes will be for driving or facilitating mobile broadband use in Africa. The first prize of $25,000 is for the most innovative product or service launched in the last 12 months and a second prize of $10,000 for the most innovative idea.

According to Steven Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, the ‘Etisalat Prize for Innovation’ Award seeks to reward corporate organizations, small and growing businesses as well as individuals developing advanced mobile broadband solutions and platforms in Africa. “The importance of Africa as a growth market for mobile broadband is clearly evident, as the continent remains the fastest growing telecommunications market in the world.

“We have launched this award because we realise the importance of innovative broadband projects, products and services which have improved the way we live and work. Innovation is core to our business strategy at Etisalat and we see ourselves as a young and innovative business setting the pace for others in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.”

Entries for the award must show demonstrable impact on broadband usage, impressive uptake from customers and would have made a visible commercial or social impact in the community. Entries are open to African Operators and Mobile Virtual Network Operators with innovative Broadband products or services using the GSM network family (2G GPRS & EDGE, 3G, HSPA, LTE), Handset and/or Device manufacturers, App Developers and other Software service providers making use of mobile broadband capability, Radio and Core network Infrastructure suppliers enabling broadband products and content developers.

The judging panel will be chaired by the Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat, Steven Evans with former Chief Technical Officer, GSM Association,  Bill Best as Co-Chair of Judges.
Joining them are Senior Director at Accenture Nigeria, Usen Udoh, Head of Developer Outreach across Africa for Google, Chukwuemeka Afigbo and Chief Executive Officer of Pagatech, Tayo Oviosu.

Entries for the award close on Thursday 6th of September 2012 and should be made via http://www.etisalat.com.ng/innovation/index.php
The deadline for submissions has been extended by one week to Thursday September 13th.