OSINT-y Goodness, №24 — MeetWays

Have you ever had that friend or relative who wants to have dinner with you, and then selects a restaurant that is conveniently a 5-minute drive from their house — but an hour and 15 minute drive from yours? Or, are you just a map nerd like me and are curious about the halfway point between two different places? Then, get to know MeetWays.com!

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Meet me halfway!

Now, there may very well be other apps or websites out there that does this same thing. I don’t care about them. I’ve been using MeetWays for a long time and it’s my go-to.

The very first thing you need to understand about this geographic tool is that the midway point it will give you will correlate to a restaurant, coffee shop, etc. The idea is that it’s finding a midway point for you to meet up with someone. So, if you are looking for a mapping tool that gives you the exact midpoint location — even if in the middle of a desert, then perhaps this tool isn’t the best choice for that purpose. But, if you need a place for lunch that’s an even and fair distance between two points — then you’ll love MeetWays.

  • Meet in the Middle

Let’s take a tour of the search fields:

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This is the search page for MeetWays.com

It’s pretty straightforward. The little icon on the first line will pull from your current location. Or, you can type in a full address, just a city, or a ZIP code. MeetWays does work outside of the United States, but I will get to that in a minute.

For Point of Interest, you can enter something freeform or something standard like restaurant, coffee, pizza, hotel, etc.

For Travel Mode, you can select from car, public transit, walking, and bicycle. You can opt for toll roads or to avoid toll roads, and lastly whether or not to be on a highway. That’s it!

The site also has a list of frequent requested midpoints in two different locations. Look at Meeting Points and Site Map for different data points from which to choose.

  • Oh, the places you will go!

OK, so say I want to meet up with some of my friends who live across Pennsylvania. I simply entered the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and learned about some restaurants that are generally in the midway proximity of those two cities. Again, keep in mind that this is driven to give you an actual meetup place. I need not specify restaurants, but that appears to be the default.

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Somewhere in the middle of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
  • Across town travel

For this search, I used the New York City points of Times Square and the Freedom Tower to find a halfway point using public transit to meet up for coffee.

Did you catch that “Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment” is listed as a landmark?
  • Note about the reviews

On the FAQ page of the MeetWays website, they explain from where they obtain the site recommendations. As with any review site, take it with a grain of salt. You could find a terrific new place, or you could find a terrible place that only got good reviews from friends of the owner. Just to reiterate, I like to use MeetWays as a guide of the general halfway point between two spots and not to be directed to a specific establishment. Your mileage and preferences may vary.

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  • Triff mich auf halbem Weg in Deutschland! (Meet me halfway in Germany!)

MeetWays also has maps for over 30 countries outside of the United States. So, if I was in Hamburg and wanted to meet a friend from Munich for beer, I would meet them in Weißenfels. Interestingly, it does not seem to display in kilometers, but in miles. For the sake of research, I used a VPN to access the site as if I were in Germany and did the same search. It still displayed in miles rather than kilometers. So, that’s one extra step someone may need to take to make that conversion if they needed to. Oh, and it’s important to note that you still access the non-U.S. search using the same main search on the first page of the website.

See the full list of 30+ countries here.

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  • Miscellaneous Notes About MeetWays

Since it’s a privately-owned company, I wasn’t able to get too much information about them. (Full disclosure, I also didn’t try very hard because I just wanted to showcase what the site can do for this blog post.) From what I can tell, the site was created in 2008 which tracks in my mind because I feel like I’ve been using it for that long.

Their site is pretty basic.
They have the usual:
- About Us part
- you can meet their team
- the press they’ve received

Although they do not have an app, they have a somewhat deceptive link named MeetWays Mobile which only explains how they don’t have any app and that, “ Any Smartphone with JavaScript capabilities can use MeetWays Mobile.” So, ok, there’s no app but their site is mobile responsive.

As far as social media goes, they only seem to have a Facebook page.

The site is free. I assume all those restaurant and coffee shop placements help fund it. You can email the halfway point findings to someone from the results page.

  • Bugs and Quirks

I noticed that it doesn’t seem to respond at all on Internet Explorer. Response time was good on Firefox, except if it was a tricky itinerary like avoiding toll roads. I found that the optimal usage was on Chrome. Do expect some lag time if you ask for avoiding highways and toll roads. Otherwise, the responses are quick.

  • Speaking of Nerd Fun with Maps

As far as MeetWays is concerned, did you know that the halfway meeting point between Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is in Minnesota?!

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I don’t know about you, but I really want to visit the Lucky Moose Bar & Grill now!
  • In Conclusion

All in all, it’s really a basic site but it provides a valuable service. Sure, there are other products out there that do the same thing — and have apps. But, I’ve used this one the longest and just really like it.

Don’t underestimate the fun to see halfway points between random places!
As I previously stated, I am a map nerd.

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Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer

Written by

#Librarian turned #InformationSecurity professional. Your guide up a mountain of information!

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