Mashup Factories

Mashups is a pretty literal word for the meshing of two or more data sources to create new data research perspectives. Although mashups can comprise all media - video, music, 3D, data aggregation from various sources - real estate is most effectively exhibited on maps.

Today, Rentometer discloses their partnership with Neighborhood Scout to present their rental listings data in context with the qualities of the neighborhood, visually confirming the presumption that the higher the rent, the better the block.

Developing mashups is becoming a "mix and match" game. Programmable Web, the leading source for mashup information, compiled an unwieldy but intriguing matrix
that exhibits how mashups of diverse data sets are being combined.

Neighboroo, unveiled less than one year ago and now being prepared for a relaunch, was pioneering to display customized US maps based on a smorgasbord of data sources. Travis Chow, its founder, said back then the challenge to data mashups was finding usable credible data filtered for accuracy and formatted for mapping.

New companies are addressing the data issue. Strikeiron, a blog devoted to data delivery, states why mashups are particularly useful within enterprises.

So why are these mashups increasing in popularity and why the momentum now? Additionally, why are they gaining more and more traction within the enterprise?

A primary reason is an increasing understanding of the benefits that mashups can provide. Leveraging data from both inside and outside of the enterprise in new creative ways by a larger group of people within an organization (including knowledge workers, not just I.T.) enables time, resources, and technology to be leveraged in any way that they can - ideal of course for the bottom line.

Knowledge workers are recognizing that they can now participate in answering their own needs by building customized views into organizational data enhanced with external data and external functionality without having to wait in the IT queue (which in some organizations can be over a year). This provides a supercharged creative movement internally that allows business users to participate in providing their own short-term solutions, many of which can become prototypes for useful and more complete applications for the I.T. organization to distribute enterprise-wide. This in turn eases the I.T. burden, provides significant visibility into which data in the organization is deemed most useful by those within it, and also provides a greater deal of control for the I.T. organization as security at the API level is often easier than at the UI level.

Mashups essentially empower individuals and small teams to create customized data presentations without programming hassles. Mashup development companies like Serena and Openkapow have created engines to help users create their own mashups for a fee.

More real estate mapping mashup mix and match examples

Facebook "mashups" in the form of widgets. Joel at FoREM wrote a good article on Facebook as a data collection source.
Facebook Neighborhoods is a hot widget developed by listings syndication service Point2 Technologies that aggregates Facebook members by their neighborhoods. It needs one more mashup feature - a mapping tool that allows residents to pinpoint where they live on a map to show its members who lives close to each other.

The next mashup idea - add advertising. It's easy to conceive allowing real estate professionals to place ads here to their neighborhood "farm".

Check out to understand how a chat + mapping can potentially be used to discuss real estate and neighborhoods in real time. It's an interesting method to connect real estate professionals and interested consumers by a chat application.

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  • 9/18/2007 11:25 AM For Sale by Owner Center wrote:
    Mashups can help with the user experience but I from out experience most people like the list format first, then view on a map. In Oct. 2005 before Trulia, Zillow, Redfin we launched a google mash-up for our FSBO site: but after testing we found that people wanted to search via lists which was more familiar and then get the mapping functionality.
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    1. 9/18/2007 9:01 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Your observations on the public's preference for lists is interesting. Was this result because your mapping mashup might have been too unique/revolutionary two years ago and the public didn't know what to think about map navigation and preferred the lists? And now, maybe the public has gotten use to maps so this may not be much of an issue?

      Also, the preference for maps vs. lists is also based on what a user is searching for. If it's for a nearby coffee shop, a map is better... if for a product like a camera based on the lowest price, then a list sorted by price is more appropriate.

      Reply to this
      1. 9/18/2007 10:42 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
        Update: I was alerted to an Information Week article describing how mashups are being used to create on-th-fly tools and web services within the enterprise system... intriguing reading for anyone who understands how hard it is to pull data out of enterprise systems. Also was told Facebook "widgets" aren't widgets, they are apps.... oops...

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