Travel Advisor – A Windows Azure DataMarket and Windows Phone 7 integration exercise

Over the last couple of months, I been leading a small project looking at extending the reach of the cloud to handheld devices. To test this out, we’ve built a Windows Phone 7 application that consumes data feeds from Windows Azure DataMarket, Bing, twitter and others. The app, known as “Travel Advisor”, went live on the Windows Phone 7 MarketPlace today.

What is it?

The application is ideal for people travelling abroad, perfect for the adventurous or regular traveller, the app provides up to the minute travel advice and warnings on every country listed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office. Travel Advisor provides embassy contact information, entry requirements, local customs information, local health advice, vaccination recommendations and much more.  In addition the app provides language translation services, currency conversion and local weather forecasts. Live integration with the forums of GapYear.com provides access to a community of extreme travellers and the location aware Twitter integration allows you to keep your social network up to date with your adventures.  

How does it work?

The UK Foreign and Commentwealth Office publishes travel advisory data as RSS feeds from their web site. We’ve created a Windows Azure worker role hosted application that monitors the RSS feeds and updates a SQL Azure database with the latest advice. The Windows Azure DataMarket then provides a discoverable interface for consuming this data in OData  format. Our Windows Phone 7 application connects to the DataMarket and retrieves the data on demand. To augment the travel advice, the phone app also consumes weather data hosted on the DataMarket by Weather Central. In addition to the the DataMarket data, the phone app makes use of Bing services for language translation and currency conversion. With twitter integration, you can use the app to tweet a location message to your feed. The app makes use of the built in GPS to automatically select the appropriate country when you are outside the UK.

If you have a Windows Phone 7, please download the app from the MarketPlace and let us know what you think. It’s free!
Many thanks to Dave Coplin at Microsoft for his support.
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