Urban Mapping has created an API and is offering its database of neighborhoods across the US for free to developers. The company works with search engines and portals to provide more accurate search results (and advertising) when people use “colloquial” or local queries that are not reflected in official boundaries or recognized geographic designations.
CEO Ian White told me in an email that he envisions the API being used by “any site that captures [local] listings of any type (e.g., events, real estate, business listings, etc.) . . . they can now associate [them with] a neighborhood attribute.” He’s also eager to see how developers creatively use the API in alternative ways.
Using this sort of database is intended improve the user experience as well enable more targeted advertising in response to local/neighborhood keywords and phrases. Maponics has a competing local database.
If “locavore” refers to someone with a penchant for “eating locally,” we might call local consumer speech/queries “lingua locus” or, alternatively, “lobonics.”
Related: Yelp indicated to me in email that they’ve offered a free neighborhood API since launching their API several months ago.