Location based social networks are really taking over in 2010; I personally have 6 on my iPod Touch that I use to check in when I can. Checkin Mania is a mashup that lets you see who is checking in via Foursquare, Gowalla and BrightKite (currently the top three location based social networks).
Upon visiting the site, the default location is set to San Fransisco so, you’ll need to set your personal location. There is a text box in the top right corner to enter your city. If you live in a large city with various zip codes, you can also enter a zip code (instead of city name) for more accuracy. I went so far as to enter an actual address and that worked too.
Checkin Mania uses Google Maps, so if you’re familiar with them then you’ll easily be able to navigate the site. There are 3 tabs along the top of the map that let you switch between the three sites (Foursquare, Gowalla, BrightKite). I noticed that some locations on seem to be off on each site (in the wrong place). For BrightKite it says, “BrightKite data not available yet working on it”, so it appears to not be working yet. You can also set your own location by dragging the little person (pictured below) or clicking on anywhere on the map to move it.
As you’ll see, there are little icons that represent venues (gas stations, restaurants, stores, etc). When you click on those you can see check in statistics for that location and even zoom in for a closer view. You can also view locations right on the sidebar that appears to the right of the map. Clicking on a venue from the sidebar will take you to the location on the map. For Foursquare, you can also view the “Mayor” of that location. Even better, you can click on other users and go straight to their profiles on the original site.
So, if you’re looking to meet new people in your area or just see who else checks in around you, this is a great tool to use. It’s nice to have all the top location based apps on one site, and since everything happens on one page the site is a breeze to use.