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Monday, May 30, 2005

I was recently asked by a colleague of a respected GIS publication in Europe about what all the fuss was about with Google Maps and adding remotely sensed imagery. Well, the big deal, of course, these days on the Internet is "search". Search is a hot topic because people are looking for the next big thing on the net. That’s great, OK, now we have "search with maps." Well wait a minute, that’s the territory of all of us mapping and GIS people. These big guys like MSN and Google can’t just invade our "mapping space" without checking with us first, right?

The big deal here is that there is much more to it. The idea that people are hacking Google Maps and coming up with some very cool applications is causing a stir. So why haven’t MapInfo, or ESRI, or Intergraph capitalized on this? It’s because they are down in the weeds trying to come up with the next big environmental model or workflow or spatial interaction function.

Meanwhile Microsoft and Google have got their sights set on millions of dollars in advertising revenue. "Oh, that’s not our market," I can just hear the execs at those companies saying. I think they said the same thing when AOL bought MapQuest for $800 Million. Too bad.

Quite frankly, the GIS players have missed it. They don’t get it. The big dollars are going elsewhere and they are left holding the next big buffer zone enhancement. Fanatastic, let’s see how much that will fetch.

My point is very simple: We are seeing only the tip of the iceberg with the advent of geographical search and data display. Google Maps is a mere a drop in the ocean of an expanding network that will rely on location-based data and not just for searching. The reliance on in-vehicle navigation systems, wireless LBS applications, RFID, city-wide Wi-Fi enablement, real-time weather and traffic feeds, is going to have an enormous economic impact on society. On-demand geospatial data will be in such high demand that those investing now in the infrastructure to handle these data will be the big winners.  Take a guess who that will be.


by Joe Francica on 05/30 at 07:47 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

This just struck me as an example of how “upfront” mapping is in the mind of those on the Internet. YumgoRightClick, a new free download from Yumgo, allows users to highlight terms in word processing or other apps and search them in a favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo, etc.). Ok, that’s cool. Here’s how the press release positions the tool: “The most useful resource [sic] is the look up. For example, you can highlight an address in MS Word, right click on it, and in an instant display a map of the address.” The release goes on to challenge Microsoft to add this functionality to its new version of Internet Explorer.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/30 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Got a nudge to look at a website from ResourceShelf (Hi Gary!) to check out what the American Library Association calls, “America’s first ever Web-accessible and digitally-mapped public library database”: Florida State’s Public Library Geographic Database (PLGDB). Like most GIS folks I went “straight to the map.” It’s an ESRI site (you can tell by the barber poll “wait” bar as it loads) enhanced with GeoCortex. Yep, it shows were libraries are, and if you want to download a Word file (why? HTML please!), you can also see congressional boundaries. That’s only interesting to me because that particular feature is sponsored by the American Library Association. That’s an interesting idea having an organization sponsor a layer of dataЕthe organization sort of gets “naming rights” I guess.

So, here’s my question: more and more of these specialty database are being built and made available. What if I want to overlay those libraries on other data - like weather, or public schools? The site offers some demographics and census data, but not those. How about making the maps available via WMS? Then we can take this data and combine it with other data.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/30 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Dan Farber writing at Between the Lines (ZDnet) profiles Joe Firmage and his company ManyOne Networks. ManyOne hopes to provide the next generation browser and a model for content loosely based on public broadcasting, though the analogy to Wikipedia seemed more apt to me. The Universal Navigator, the new browser deals with three things: “First, dealing with the data chaos created by having a billion channels; second, taking advantage of 3D rendering found in offline game consoles to build rich media experiences; and third, a new governance model built on the public broadcasting model.” What struck me: “He showed an example of content created for the browser that combines satellite imagery and data about the recent devastating tsunami.” I thought we were working toward that with standards (OGC’s and others)? That content is already out there - the trick is (1) finding it and (2) having the tools to merge it. Both are still works in progress for sure, but I’m not convinced a new browser and the creation of new content are the answer. I think wise use of standards is the way forward. (But then I consult to OGC.)

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/30 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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