Two thoughts about Belltower

I have a Maemo application called Belltower in testing, which lists towers hung for English full-circle change ringing (rather than any tower in the world which happens to contain bells). Here is a screencast of the app in use. The data comes from Dove’s Guide. It allows you to

  • find all towers nearby, using the GPS
  • find a tower by name
  • find a tower by geographical area (country, then county, then alphabetically)
  • bookmark towers and come back to them later

Here are two questions about Belltower on which I’d like your feedback.

1. The front screen currently looks like this:

But I’m wondering whether it would be more Maemo-ish to give it an interface like the app manager and the media player. Something like this (excuse the quick mockup):

What do you think?

2. Generalising Belltower. An application to find belltowers is useful for ringers, but the same code could come in useful in other ways for other people. Eiffel on t.m.o suggested that there should be a wiki which lists sets of geographical points within a particular category, such as

  • belltowers
  • Tube stations
  • public toilets
  • perhaps a chainstore might want a set of points for its own stores
  • stone circles
  • UFO sightings…

which could be fed automatically by sites such as Dove and openstreetmap, or just by people editing the wiki itself. Each point would have

  • a name
  • a short block of HTML giving facts about the point (such as, for a Tube station, which lines it was on)
  • possibly a picture
  • possibly a URL to follow for more information
  • and always a latitude and longitude pair.

Then son-of-Belltower should be able to pull from this wiki with a custom API; the user could select which overlay they were interested in.

I think this idea has a lot of merit. I may do it. I’d like to hear your ideas about it as well.

4 Responses to “Two thoughts about Belltower”

  1. Jon Levell says:

    I wouldn’t use the current belltower-specific app (I’m not a ringer) but if it could find me (public toilets/tube-stations/pubs which sell good beer) it would be very useful to me.

  2. timsamoff says:

    1. Funny. I’m a UI guy, but I like the current interface. I could be argued the other way, though.

    2. Love the idea for icreasing the functionalities. What if each “location type” was a module that could be installed via @.deb? (E.g., One day I might want to install the “pubs” deb, but another, I may want to uninstall it, etc.)

  3. Mm, I’d love to do a beer module. I wonder where we could find a list of pubs, though: I doubt CAMRA would give us a free licence on the beer guide, and it would take forever to make our own.

    Separate .debs: good idea.

  4. timsamoff says:

    Ah, but crowd-sourcing (for any type of location) would work great in this instance. In fact, what if there was a way to submit a location from the app and a way to sync the app with a cloud-based database? So, a user would install the initial module deb, then every time the app launched, it would check the online DB for updates and ask the user if they want the update, etc.