Location-based services are growing in popularity due to the ubiquity of smartphone users. The relevance of location-based query results is very important, especially for mobile phones with limited screen size. Location-based data frequently changes; this introduces challenges in indexing and ranking places. The growing popularity of mobile social networks, such as Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook Places, presents an opportunity to build better location-based services by leveraging user interactions on these networks. In this paper, we present SocialTelescope, a location-based service that automatically compiles, indexes and ranks locations, based on user interactions with locations in mobile social networks. We implemented our system as a location-based search engine that uses geo-tweets by Twitter users to learn about places. We evaluated the coverage and relevance of our system by comparing it against current state-of-the-art approaches including page-rank (Google Local Search), expert-based (Zagat) and user-review based (Yelp). Our results show that a crowd-sourced location-based service returns results that match those returned by current approaches in relevance, at a substantially lower cost. © 2012 IEEE.