Category Archives: OpenlyLocal

Hyperlocal: Give me your ideas, I’ll (try and) make it happen.

Some of you may be aware that I’ve begun writing a WordPress plugin using OpenlyLocal. It’s not the only thing I’m working on though, and I have lots of ideas. However, I know that there’s plenty of hyperlocals out there that probably have their own ideas of what would make their life easier, or just more interesting.

So I’m asking: what tools do you want for your hyperlocal?┬áTry and think about the things that you don’t find it so easy doing as well as the ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ ideas. Here are some of mine;

  • OpenlyLocal
    • Upcoming meetings widget
    • Councillor information attached to posts
    • Meeting information attached to posts (e.g. links to minutes, those in attendance)
    • Councillor profiles
    • Contact the council widget
  • TheyWorkForYou widget (showing recent activity by your MP)
  • WriteToThem widget (i.e. a button for direct access to e-mail your MP/councillors)
  • FixMyStreet alerts widget
  • Weather widget (including flood warnings – and Andy Mabbett suggested tide times for coastal locations and pollen counts)
  • Recent investigations (powered by Help Me Investigate)
  • FoI requests widget (powered by WhatDoTheyKnow)
  • Upcoming blood donation sessions (thanks to John Cronin)
  • Schools (I don’t know what but something with schools)
  • Hospitals, doctors surgeries, dentists (actually, this is leading onto an Uber Map)
  • Police information (such as recent arrests, appeals, upcoming surgeries)
  • Travel news; including public transport (thanks Martin)
  • Planning applications (hat-tip to Martin again)
  • Food safety ratings (e.g. through the excellent RateMyPlace)
  • Eating out guide, including integration with RateMyPlace
  • Health services, such as comments from NHS Choices (thanks to Will Perrin for this one)
  • Early Day Motions signed by your MP, using
  • Local sports club results & league tables (thanks Ed)
  • ‘Tell us what’s going on locally’ like on Berkamsted People (via Josh)
  • A Groups Near You widget
  • Petrol prices (cheers Ed!)
  • Yoosk! …I don’t know what, but something needs to be done with Yoosk.
  • Tweetminster widget showing councillors/MPs who tweet, maybe aggregate their tweets.
  • Schools closures (e.g. when there’s a tiny smattering of snow)
  • Bin collections (and warnings when the torrent of snowfall comes)
  • Bus routes/timetables/announcements
  • School holiday dates

I’m thinking all those will also be available in the WordPress admin for blog owners to use them to generate stories. I’ve probably missed something too, so suggest away!

Tools for hyperlocals: OpenlyLocal WordPress plugin

I’m starting to develop a range of tools for hyperlocal sites, taking advantage of the extensibility of blogging platform, WordPress. My first effort is using the fantastic OpenlyLocal site and all the data provided in raw XML.

So far, I’ve built the bare bones of the plugin, an admin page to select the local authority and then a simple widget which displays upcoming council meetings.

Very simple widget.
Very simple widget.

There is a big list of ideas in my head of what I could do with this but I’m not sure what would be most desirable to the masses (I want it all, now) so I’ve set up a Get Satisfaction page and added a few ideas just to get the ball rolling. Please go there and do at least one of two things;

  1. ‘Like’ an existing idea. This helps decide where I should focus my efforts.
  2. Suggest a new idea. If there’s something I haven’t thought of, please tell me!

It’d be great if you could just leave your general thoughts about ideas too. The more collective knowledge I get the better the plugin will be and that’s only going to be good for hyperlocal sites everywhere!