Announcing PublicLoos: A Google Maps Mash-up

Okay, my mash-up is finally working (mostly). I’ve just finished coding my little project, a Google maps mash-up I’m calling PublicLoos. As the name suggests, PublicLoos overlays the location of various public restrooms against a city map.

In honor of Web 2.0, and for anyone caught short while conference-ing this week, the launch city for (the admittedly silly) PublicLoos is San Francisco. Hey, what better untethered service than a restroom mash-up for that soon-to-be-wireless  city? (And yes, time permitting I will eventually get around to adding some other major cities in Canada and the U.S.)

While you might think it enough to be able to use PublicLoos and find out that there is a public restroom not far from a given intersection, there’s more (as Ron Popeil might say). When you click a marker PublicLoos pops up some fine and pithy commentary about the restroom in question.

For example, the following appears for a McDonald’s at 1455 Market Street:

Horrible bathroom. Truly awful. Covered with poo, toilet paper wads everywhere. The workers were nasty to me too when I asked to use it because it has to be unlocked to keep the homeless from using it (much better to have to skip over their piles of offal on the street right?) and even then I considered letting my kid just whizz in the street rather than use their john.

Good to know, and not the sort of thing you’ll find in Fodor’s.

Anyway, it works, mostly, although there is a fair amount of data coming across, so sometimes the restroom markers don’t pop up right away. And I’ve also noticed an irritating bug/feature in Firefox where it seemingly ignores table widths now and then, letting long restroom descriptions trail away. That doesn’t happen in Internet Explorer, so kudos to the kids of MSFT for getting their loo logic right.

Have fun with PublicLoos, but be sure to read the disclaimer. Meanwhile, posting may be a little fitful here over the next few days while I’m up in San Francisco. And no, I didn’t create PublicLoos for this trip 😉


  1. You need to include all the McDonalds. McDonalds: restroom to the world.

  2. Michael Robinson says:

    Congradulations! An exemplar of Web 2.0 technology. Immediate. Accessible. Useful. Fringe.
    On a related topic, I’ve been curious for some time what percentage of active mashups out there right now don’t involve Google in some way. Maybe what I’m getting is this: to what extent is “Web 2.0” just a clever Google affiliate program?

  3. This is way too much fun and, as a time-waster, even less productive than my NY Times Select subscription (I’ve only got 32 articles left this month, and it’s only the 5th…). However, I did want to be first with an obvious scatological reference so here goes:
    I’m not going to San Francisco anytime soon so I don’t give a carp.

  4. Michael — Interesting point. My sense is that more than 80% of all mash-ups involve Google, making it a clever affiliate program indeed.