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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I spoke at length with Alan Keister, a development executive at America Online, who elaborated on AOL’s news to release a location-based component of AIM. AOL announced the enhancements to the Open AIM SDK which includes APIs for an LBS to support the location of people in your buddy list. AOL is encouraging developers to download and use the SDK to develop viable business applications. So much so that although the API is free to download and there is a limit on the number of transactions you can make on the AOL mapping service, there is no charge at this point. If your application maxes out your transaction limit, you are encouraged to contact AOL but Keister was non-commital on the charge for additional transactions.

by Joe Francica on 06/14 at 01:05 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

On my recent road trip I listened to a bunch of podcasts. One was TWIT (This Week in Tech) where a bunch of folks discuss the tech news of the week. This episode was recorded at VloggerCon. So, a big question was “what is vlogging.” The “panel” didn’t give much of a hoot, but offered up other terms: video blogging, Internet video, etc.

We are having our own little war of words in our corner: mashups? mix-ins? dashups? The former, they say, comes from music, where a DJ or musician mixes bits of different recordings together. That’s worked for me. Mix-ins, a term Microsoft uses, so far as I know, comes from ice cream enhancement. (I would offer it was invented here by Steve’s, the great ice cream place here in Boston when I was young.) SRC and Dean Stoecker are offering up demographic data to be added, hence creating dashups. (I listened to Dean introduce the idea on a special Very Spatial Podcast.)

On a related note, I’ve been working on my own vocabulary. In a few presentations I’ve done lately, I referred to “the traditional GIS players” and “the new players.” I’m ok with the former (and ESRI/MapInfo/Intergraph have not suggested another term) but not the latter. Recently Michael Jones of Google took journalists to task regarding our inability to understand what companies like his are doing. He patiently explained about “organizing the world’s information.” So, then, how do I refer to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft? “The companies organizing the world’s information?” Some writers use “GYM,” which I suspect has bad associations for readers of a certain age. Further, I want to be able to refer just to the “geo” part of these companies, though of course its a well intergrated bit, because frankly, I can’t keep tabs on the entire organization. (To be fair, I can’t do that for Intergraph or ESRI either!) Finally, I want to include MapQuest, and others here, too.

What about Platial and ZIllow? How do we describe those companies? Commercial mashups/mixins/dashups? Neogeography?

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/13 at 08:02 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

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,, 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

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

And for something entirely wild, check out - 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
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