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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where 2.0 billed itself as "The future of mapping and local search." My take: These first sessions are not really about the future of mapping. There are others that can speak to the technology’s future but this was not evident today. Where is about local search and more correctly about social networking using location technology. Presentations from Platial.com, Plazes.com, Projectxtech.com Zoptco.com were all about social networking: People adding context to points of interest, personal information to add rich content so that others can appreciate and understand what others have experienced. Photos, anecdotes, opinions, etc. are organized by this second generation of websites (not sure they are viable companies just yet so I hesitate to put them in the category of "viable concern") that go beyond mashups. The conference aims to put some context to the growing consumer mapping opportunities that have risen from the APIs offered by Google, Micosoft, etc. There were interesting presentations on privacy and "map spam", issues sure to impact the applications in the consumer space. But it would be a disservice to attendees to call this the future of mapping. There are some great applicaions that were presented but this is just one facet of the location technology industry. Consumer mapping is fun, cool, and creates a buzz but it does not necessarily end up in a viable business model. Much of what I see is "let’s throw an application out there and see if people come." And yes, some will end up as viable businesses and that’s the part of what this conference offers attendees: to see a "part" of the future of mapping…but not the whole future.

by Joe Francica on 06/13 at 07:54 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Google announced (at Where 2.0) that they would offer support, for a fee, for anyone who was using their free Maps API. They didn’t offer how much it would be but at least its available. Lars Rasmussen of Google also mentioned that anyone purchasing the enterprise edition has full control over map presentation. More information at http://www.google.com/enterprise.maps

by Joe Francica on 06/13 at 05:34 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

MetaCarta, the company known for capturing the geographical references in unstructured data, like text, interpreting the context and mapping each of the references has opened its technology to anyone. Using its toolkit you can use its geographic search tools into any page of text. See http://labs.metacarta.com

And for something entirely wild, check out http://gutenkarte.org - create map-o-grams of your favorite book. If you want to want to see or map the geographic refernences of your favorite book…check it out.

by Joe Francica on 06/13 at 05:17 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I had a brief conversation with Brad Schell, co-founder of @Last Software which was purchased by Google. I asked him about any pushback he might have received from traditional CAD companies when he launched SketchUp. "Not at first," he said. But what people found as that SketchUp allowed many people the ease of use not found in CAD. Schell believed that people we so focused on driving the CAD product. He explained the differences between SketchUp and traditional CAD very simply: where people (like engineers) know what they want to build…they start with CAD. SketchUp is a way to take a conceptual design and turn it into a picture first…it if works out…perhaps you go back to a CAD package. "I’ve seen it go both ways," said Schell. So his vision for SketchUp is to allow people to experiment with 3D and create their vision on paper quicker than focusing on learning the product. Google provides a "great substrate" says John Hanke, general manager of Google Earth in speaking about the 3D data available in the product. So, in combination, the base data and context from Google Earth with the power to render an idea with SketchUp provides a means to have a creative framework that opens up many possiblities to both engineers as well as non-engineers.

by Joe Francica on 06/13 at 04:18 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Mikel Maron of Mapufacture describes GeoRSS as "an agreement on a representation of space that we can all share." Speaking at Where 2.0, Maron was trying to give some perspective on the potential of GeoRSS. He believes that just as RSS was far from the perfect format, "it produces just enough structure that we can all agree on it." So how do you include GeoRSS? Maron sees GeoRSS supporting more geometries as well as altitude that satisfy enough geographic features while maintaining simplicity. See his GeoRSS aggregator at www.Mapufacture.com/georss/map/show/60

by Joe Francica on 06/13 at 03:30 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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