Monday, April 05, 2010

What am I trying to do with Property Past

I had a tense dim-sum with my sister a few weeks ago. She announced that she was going to move because their house was infested with mold. How many grow-ops, crack shacks and murder houses are out there that get a lick of paint and then get put out on the market. Our own 97 year old house has been through so many renovations and expansions that I don't know what it began as (I think I'm sleeping in the original kitchen). Properties have pasts. If they are not sterling, a realtor will not mention them. I used to live at 1170 Tattersall. On its bright side, it was built by the McGills of local McGill and Orme fame. It was a nice house. On its dark side, it was used by a local thief: he had so much booty stuffed into the basement suite, he could barely shut the door (this according to police).
Enter www.propertypast.com. It's a site built with Drupal 6 and using the nice Color Paper theme (I like that theme). What I did that was a little different: I built it with four vocabularies (street numbers, streets, cities, regions). These vocabularies are what organize and describe the content. There are many Elm Streets, but only one Elm Street per city-- so the Elm Street gets recycled and addresses need three or four vocabularies of terms to make a match. I altered the node to show the vocabularies, control their output and append associated terms. For example, with this link (http://propertypast.com/node/10), we have 728 Pembroke Victoria, British Columbia The 728 includes all of the terms. The Pembroke include Pembroke, Victoria and British Columbia. Victoria is Victoria and British Columbia. As you get out from the exact match, the links can take you to a broader match.

The trick from here: getting the data. I would LOVE it if people would contribute the data. I would also like to find a way to mass import pre-existing data: MLS sale prices, BC Assessment prices, crime reports, etc.. That may be the Achilles Heel of this process. Here's my call to you: if you know of a home with a colorful past, add it here at Property Past. Perhaps I will list this on my growing list of web projects...

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