One of foursquare’s bigger behind-the-scenes problems has been mislocated venues. Whether due to bad geolocation, bad GPS signals or users entering improper addresses, foursquare’s “pin” for the venue sometimes simply doesn’t match up with the actual location. Since the launch of the anti-cheating code in April, foursquare users have complained “I’m in this location but I’m told ‘I’m a little far’ from my location.”
To help combat the problem, foursquare added the ability to flag mislocated venues in their mobile apps and the API several weeks ago. Now superusers (Level 2+) can resolve those venues flagged as mislocated through foursquare’s admin interface.
The tool shows one pin where foursquare thinks the venue is and another where Google Maps thinks it should be. Blue dots are placed at spots where users have recently checked in and a third pin marks the center of the recent checkins. A red circle presumably shows the approximate venue radius where foursquare allows checkins. It appears larger for parks and other outdoor spaces and smaller for things like restaurants and homes.
If it appears users are routinely checking in from a spot far away from foursquare’s venue pin, superusers can move the pin to a more appropriate location. In the example above, the Lincoln Restaurant was positioned too far south on Williams St, as you can see by the cluster of blue dots several blocks north where users have been checking in.
Foursquare has done a nice job designing this tool to let superusers help fix their data. Unfortunately, hands-on solutions like this don’t scale very well.Â Rather than dealing with spammy sites on a case-by-case basis, Google prefers to adapt their algorithm to eliminate problem sites; it’s a solution that scales very well. Foursquare is already working on more Google-like algorithmic tools to get their data in shape. As they continue to grow and users add more and more venues, foursquare and their superusers won’t be able to keep up with problems like this.