Innovation That Matters

Location-based messaging for neighbourhoods


It was back in 2003 that we began covering nethoods, as our sister site calls them, and since then GPS and mobile technologies have greatly increased locally focused possibilities. BlockChalk is a new site that aims to provide the online equivalent of a neighbourhood bulletin board where residents can use their mobile phones to leave location-based messages for other people in their community. Billed as “the voice of your neighbourhood,” BlockChalk lets mobile phone users leave messages (“chalks,” as the service calls them) on their block, their street, at the coffee shop or anywhere they happen to be. Neighbourhood tips, restaurant recommendations, pothole alerts or even lost pets are all perfect candidates for location-tagged message topics that can be left on BlockChalk, which allows other users of the service in the same area to reply either publicly or privately. No signup is required to use the service, and BlockChalk never reveals a user’s identity or exact location unless they specifically request it. The mobile application is now available for iPhone, Palm Pre and Android-based handsets, with Blackberry and Nokia support coming soon. Launched early this year, BlockChalk is now used in more than 114 countries, 8,700 cities and 13,700 or so neighborhoods. The Bay Area startup is also in the process of integrating its service with Twitter’s new geo-enabled API, it says. Besides helping to connect neighbours with each other and with a wealth of hyperlocal information, BlockChalk also promises a world of advertising opportunities for local businesses; for developers, an API is already available. One to partner with in your neck of the location-based woods…? (Related: Connecting neighbours and landlords onlineMore neighbourhood problem-solving: SeeClickFix.) Spotted by: Judy McRae



Download PDF