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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

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
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