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“The most exciting companies create. They give us new ways of thinking, or doing business, many times solving a problem we didn’t know we had — or a problem we didn’t pay attention to because we never thought there was another way.” Play Bigger.

Data is essential to decision-making but it is often found far from where decisions are made. Think back to the last time you tried to plan a short trip, vacation, or even looked for a place to live in a new city. How many browser tabs did you have open? If the answer is “too many to count” you’re in good company. ✋

There are lots of reasons for this, but I blame a simple culprit — the map.

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Daily Cartoon for Wednesday Sept 16, 2020 from The New Yorker

Don’t get me wrong — I love maps, but when companies choose the map as the primary expression for and experience of location data, they’re really limiting what their product can do.

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Trulia, map view

Most companies can’t actually use the data on maps to build products.

You read that right. Companies pay to display maps — but that’s basically it. Because of data licensing restrictions, there’s a ton of stuff they can’t do.
(Check out Section 10.5 here, specifically sub-items b, c, and d). They can use a map to show you that there’s a park, grocery store, or coffeeshop nearby, but they can’t ‘take’ that data ‘off’ the map (so to speak) and easily build useful things like location-based search filters or model features.

The problems I discussed above with respect to licensing are real, but they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. I’m going to spare you all of the challenges associated with integrating even open and unlicensed geospatial data onto your favorite travel and real estate sites. Suffice it to say it’s incredibly hard, requiring a mix of engineering, geospatial, and data skills that are pretty rare. This is why you don’t see wildfire or AQI data popping up on these sites — even the best engineering teams usually don’t know how to use this kind of data. In fact, when I tried to solve this at Airbnb I was told it was too costly and too big of an endeavor. 😬 So, tabs it is?

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Earlier this year I left Airbnb and met @Zack_F_Walker who, as it turns out, had been thinking about these same challenges since he left Airbnb in 2016. As geospatial nerds, we knew there was a better way. We also knew that we were the perfect team to solve this problem, so we founded Iggy.

We are creating the future that we want.

We want to empower developers by making it really easy to build products that leverage location data of all sorts. You pass some latitude/longitudes over an API, we enrich them for you with our growing feature set (air quality, wildfire risk, light pollution, landmarks, beaches, hiking trails, subway stops…) and return everything to you. The data is yours to use and build with. Data in, value out. It’s that simple.

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IggyEnrich browser extension screenshots

Our newly released Chrome extension is a demo of what can be done with our API. Rather than waiting for travel and real estate sites to integrate with our API, we decided to do the work for them and show you how they could make your lives easier. Of course, it’s timely to show data about wildfire and smoke, but this is really just the beginning.

We’ve got a lot up our sleeves and are excited to build our products and our team. If you’re intrigued, check out our job postings, sign up for our waitlist to get early access to our API, or send us feedback.

To the future! 🚀

Lindsay Pettingill, Co-founder and CEO

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Written by

Co-founder & CEO @askiggyapp. Ex Data Scientist @Airbnb. I make data useful.

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