Get to know your neighborhood: Walk Score unveils new crowd-sourced pictorial guides

Seattle’s Walk Score today rolled out a series of new community-oriented features for the Web site and iPhone app that allow individuals to get more information — primarily via photos — of the neighborhoods in which they live.

“In a nutshell, we’re enabling our users to share and discover the places that make neighborhoods unique,” said Walk Score co-founder Matt Lerner.  “People can add photos of neighborhood gems and report problem spots. It’s like a crowd-sourced neighborhood tour for any address.”

Lerner tells GeekWire that the new features mark “a natural extension” beyond the scores and data it provides on residences, expanding into what he called “the aesthetics and experiences that make a neighborhood unique.” In addition to individuals being able to upload photos, Lerner said that members of the community can comment and add insights to the various photos. Users also can mark dangerous intersections or high-crime areas, using the information to submit proposals to public officials.

Those who submit 10 photos or more will be dubbed a “local expert” within the Walk Score community.

“As always, the scenario we’re focused on is helping people find a great place to live,” said Lerner, adding that they frequently get emails from Walk Score users who email photos and information about their local neighborhoods.

With the extension into neighborhood photos, Walk Score will move onto the turf of upstarts such as Rich Barton-backed NextDoor, a social network for neighborhoods. AOL’s Patch also is trying to provide news and information on local towns, as are hyperlocal news blogs such as MyBallard and The West Seattle Blog. Services such as Yelp also attempt to provide an overview of businesses in certain neighborhoods.

Founded by All Star Directories creator Mike Mathieu, Walk Score secured $2 million earlier this year from former Amazon.com CTO Shel Kaphan, former Facebook general counsel Rudy Gadre, entrepreneur Edward Yim, angel investor Geoff Entress and others.

  • jmhilde

    These changes are all well and good, but now the map… the very reason I use(d) and love(d) Walk Score… is so small (and filled with ads, may I add) that it’s virtually useless! Where did the public transit locators go? Where did the lovely menu of “what do you want to see on the map” choices go? Too bad that new financing equals more ads and less user friendliness. Boo!