idno Idno is a modern #indieweb self hosted open source social networking platform. The project was started by Ben Werdmuller, who you may remember from such projects as Elgg, it makes use of a lot of cool technologies and has some very interesting features on the roadmap.

I recently got stuck into the project myself; as a former core Elgg developer myself, it seemed an obvious platform to look at when I wanted to PRISM break my social media activity, and move to a POSSE modal for Facebook and Twitter etc. It also forms the base to a couple of cool client projects that I’m working on.

The project is really starting to pick up speed, and you can see my social stream over at

Ben has done a really nice job at building the initial platform, and I can’t wait to see how the project develops!

Jurisdiction The other day, in response to Ben’s suggestion, I declared my data jurisdiction, so that those wishing to contact me knew exactly what risks their data could be exposed to.

It occurred to me that simply naming the jurisdiction wasn’t really much good unless I could also point to something that would explain the risks in plain English, so, the other afternoon, I took some time out and put together is a community project that anyone can contribute to (either by submitting a patch for, or raising an issue on, the GitHub project) so get hacking! It is my hope that as more people declare their data jurisdiction the site will become a handy source of information.

As a reminder of my jurisdiction; I am based in the UK, with servers in the US and Germany.

I like feeds and APIs.

Feeds and APIs provide ways for others to access a service and to recombine the data in new and unexpected ways. Ways that have consistently been proven to be beneficial to both parties (which makes google’s increasing antipathy towards them an interesting, not to mention short sighted, trend).

Anyway, it was one morning when I was attempting to find a route to work for my girlfriend which bypassed the numerous arterial route crashes that had happened that morning and I found myself pondering thus

… wouldn’t it be cool if roads and junctions had permanent URLs, and better yet if you could get a data feed on them?

This would let you do many cool things, for example you could enter your route to work and get a status of the traffic en route – or at the very least attach a particular traffic blackspot (in our case the 13 bends of death on the A4074) to ifttt and get SMS alerts if there was a problem.

Giving roads and junctions addressable urls would be an obvious extension to the google maps API, but given that Google won’t even let you embed a map in a page if it contains a traffic data overlay it seems unlikely they’ll provide such access to their data. Other sources such as the Yahoo’s traffic API has long since been shut down.

So, what alternative traffic data sources could we use?

One possible data source we could use would be to parse a twitter search for the road in question. We both currently use ifttt hookups to get alerts for certain key roads, so the basic concept is sound.

This isn’t perfect, for example there is no understanding of the context of a message – so for example a message saying “No traffic problems on the A4074” and “Terrible crash on the A4074” would both trigger the alert, but only the latter would indicate a problem.

The other problem of course is that it also relies on people tweeting, but in effect this would actually pull in quite a diverse range of secondary sources – in my case, for example, it also pulls in any source that feed into the local radio station – which includes reports from their traffic spotter plane.

As an individual without access to data from traffic sensors, or any ability to collect data directly (unlike, say, google who can use position reports from android phones), we are pretty much limited to collecting data from secondary sources as far as I can see.

What other sources could we use?