I had a call with a very nice lady at Yelp, and it sounds like they’d really prefer I used the API to build up a set of points… not a trivial amount of work, so Yelp listings will have to wait for more important things to get done.
The problem that I’ve been thinking about recently is that I’d like for people to be able to save their lists of favorite apartments and easily send them to their friends, brokers, etc. The two main approaches that I’ve been debating between are whether I should implement full-fledged accounts with usernames and passwords for those that want to do more than just browse, or go a more lightweight route, by asking only for an email address, and immediately emailing them a link that, when clicked, will reconstitute their list. This link could then be passed around and would represent a list that could modified by anybody.
I’d like to go the link route, because I hate signing up for accounts just to use one or two features that really shouldn’t require an account, and I hate giving one of my passwords to yet another sketchball website (not that PadMapper is one of those).
On the other hand, at some point I would like to make it possible for people to post their own rooms for rent on here, and for that, I doubt that emailing an accessor link is secure enough for most people’s tastes, especially if I wanted to ask for a bit of money for the posting.
In the end, I think I’ll implement the link-email method for quick and dirty favorite-list saving, and then I can tie in a more robust system of recalling favorites with an account system, when I make that for the purposes of people posting their places directly on PadMapper.
It seems that I was too quick in getting Yelp data for cities up, and Yelp has blocked my server’s IP. I’ll try to get them to unblock it (switching IPs and resuming wouldn’t be very friendly). It might be a while I can get Yelp listings for more cities up, though. Sorry.
I’ve added Yelp listings for some new cities. This brings the full list to:
- San Francisco
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Albany, NY
- Baltimore, MD
- Buffalo, NY
- Charlotte, VA
- Kansas City
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Diego
- Washington, DC
I haven’t verified that all of them have all of the listings that they should, or that the listings even went to all the right locations, so if you notice something that seems like it’s probably wrong, please let me know at email@example.com. Also, just a heads up, nothing with less than 4 stars and at least 5 ratings is displayed, so that can explain why there might be fewer listings than one would explain, especially in less populous towns.
Thanks, and happy house hunting!
Welcome to the development blog for PadMapper! I’ve actually been steadily working on and improving it for about a month now, I’ve just been too lazy to run through WordPress’ apparently famous 5-minute setup.
So, what is PadMapper? It’s a search engine for apartments and houses for rent. I started this because I had a terrible time trying to find a good apartment in Manhattan, NY that met my criteria, and most of the real estate search engines I tried sucked pretty hard. Trulia and Zillow aren’t terrible, but they didn’t really help. So I made my own to help me find a place, and find a place I did. Then I decided to fix it up a bit to make it usable by other people, and here we are.
So, I guess I should talk about what’s done on PadMapper so far…
I decided that while most real estate sites organize apartment listings into lists, and then a little map to the side showing where the items in the list are on it, the list was nearly useless, and that everything could be done from the map. As such, PadMapper is a full-screen map with a little transparent control box in the lower left hand corner. Most aspects that are not map-related, like the about page, saved apartments, and that sort of thing are displayed as superimposed moveable divs…. like little windows on a desktop that has a big map as its wallpaper.
Its coolest features so far:
- Mass-transit/subway commute time limit filtering done for NYC, with SF well under way. Getting that set up is very labor intensive, though, and I have to find a better way, or progress might stop after SF.
- Yelp point of interest points for 7 out of 64 cities (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, San Francisco, and Washington,DC ) with more every day. You can see those by zooming in very close to the map. There are a bunch of other features, of course, but those are the two that are most unique.
- A favorites list, no account required. When I was looking for my own place, I used to have to open each listing I was interested in in its own tab. No longer! These things serve as quicklinks to the listing itself and its position on the map, so you can come back to them after you’re done browsing. Accounts will come soon in case you want your favorites to outlive your browser sessions.
If you haven’t checked it out, please play around with PadMapper a bit, and please let me know if there’s anything that annoyed you or that you think would help you in your effort to find an apartment.
This project was started as a result of my unhappiness with the available tools when I was looking for an apartment in Manhattan, NY, so if there’s anything I can do to help your search, I’m all ears. Other people are probably having the same problems as you are. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, and hello once again.