EveryBlock Launches as Local News Aggregator for SF, NYC, and Chicago

EveryBlock launches today as a geographically-filtered news and data aggregation service for San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago. The site attempts to answer one deceptively simple question: “What’s happening in my neighborhood?” For EveryBlock, it boils down to three types of information: geographically-relevant news and blog entries, civic information, and “fun from across the web.”

“Hyperlocal” is the buzz-word for this service. Among the data aggregated are geo-tagged images from Flickr, lost/found items from Craigslist, and cafe reviews from Yelp. While EveryBlock aggregates plenty of data from web services such as these, it’s particularly focused on surfacing data managed by the government: liquor licenses, restaurant inspections, and crime reports for example.

To get a taste of EveryBlock’s power, you can check out a map of all photos taken recently in Downtown San Francisco, a list of the vehicles stolen in Chicago, or even a log of the graffiti recently cleaned up in Brooklyn. While EveryBlock does not yet provide an API, RSS feeds for specific neighborhoods are available.

The team of four behind EveryBlock is led by Adrian Holovaty, co-creator of the popular Python framework Django. Holovaty is also behind chicagocrime.org, a “freely browsable database of crimes reported in Chicago.” EveryBlock is funded by a $1.1M, two-year grant from the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge, a competition for making local news more easily obtainable.

EveryBlock competes directly with Outside.in. Yahoo’s OurCity, while still beta and only covering cities in India, has many similar features as well. Also see YourStreet.