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Foursquare/Swarm iCal feed

This is for you if you’re in that sliver of the Venn diagram that includes “People who use Foursquare/Swarm“, the subset of “People who like to have calendar feed of their check-ins”, and the very slightly overlapping set of “People who can set up a python script to run on a webserver”.

For a long time Foursquare have offered RSS, KML, ICS and GCAL feeds of your own check-ins. It wasn’t a very obvious feature — I was using Foursquare for years before I discovered it — but I loved it. I could have all my check-ins appear in my calendar which was useful for reminding me when I’d been where. Great if you need to give the police an alibi. I imagine.

Recently the ICS/iCal/iCalendar feed in my calendar stopped working and, visiting the URL, it was a 404. Visiting that feeds page I didn’t hold out much hope for it starting to work again, given the page says:

Please note: The Check-in Feeds functionality has existed for a while now, and we’ve gone through lots of changes over the years. These unique URLs may or may not still work for you and, unfortunately, we no longer provide support for this feature. YMMV!

Screenshot of the Foursquare web page

I tried tweeting at Foursquare but received no reply so I guess that’s that.

I liked having that feed enough that I wrote a python script to generate a new feed for my check-ins. It does require that you can:

  • Faff around getting your Foursquare API tokens,
  • Set up a python script, with its requirements, to run regularly,
  • Have a webserver it can run on so that the generated feed has a URL.

It’d be nice to make this a more flexible and easy-to-use service for anyone, but I imagined it would be one of those projects that I spend ages on making Just Right and it’s of no use to anyone but me. This script is Good Enough For Me. Sorry everyone else.

It uses the same event IDs as the previous Foursquare version, so it shouldn’t create duplicate events in your calendar if you change the URL of your existing subscription to your new feed. It also includes a little more info in the event description (any comment you added when checking in, and the timezone of the check-in).

The only problem I’ve had so far is with the macOS Calendar app — I changed my calendar’s subscription URL, and it fetches the new events from the new feed, but then… a day or so later it complains the calendar “wasn’t found” and the URL has reverted to the old Foursquare one. Repeat. It’s maddening. Computers, eh.

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