Eine Bewegung erobert das Netz

Geospatial Technology For The Everyday People

The Web has made people smart. It allows the everyday people to discover, publish, and share information. The Web is a profound technology not only because it allows the display of pretty pictures and the layout of well-formatted texts, but also because it’s a technology that everyone can use.

Like the Web technology, geospatial technology should also be developed for the everyday people. The key is to help everyday people, not just few groups of elite techno-geeks, to do more by doing less.

So, what’re those useful geospatial technologies? Many speakers at the Where 2.0 conference have talked about them.

Where 2.0

  1. Geotagging photos. The ubiquitous of camera phones and digital cameras have created a whole new world of information sharing. People take photos not only because they want to record memorable moments, but also because they want to show personal expression. Michael Sharon talked about why young people love camera phones — “We tell stories. We moblog. We create and tag moments in our lives that are important, significant. We capture silly pictures of ourselves.”
  2. Publishing geographical information on the Web for the machines to process. GeoRSS is one of the emerging languages for publishing geographical information on the Web. Based on GML’s Geometry language specification, GeoRSS can be used to describe locations as points, linestrings, and polgyons. Major players begin experimenting GeoRSS, and they include Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google (see Mikel Maron’s presentation).
  3. Connecting friends and families in a digital geospatial world. The emergence of social networks on the Web is breeding a new kind of location-based application. Walt Doyle of uLocate talked about few applications of such kind: (1) “Buddy Finder” (MapQuest’s Find Me) enables users to find other GPS-phone users over multiple carriers, and (2) a photo camera tagging system that can automatically tag photos with location and time information.
  4. Create maps of your own kind. Map is a power UI interface. In the Web 2.0 world, the use of map UI is beyond direction lookup or path mapping. Wayfaring is a new kind of map software that gives the full control of the map creation to the end users. For example, users may create maps of their tripes to Pebble Beach Golf in 2004, or popular social spots in NYC (see Mike Tatum’s presentation).

The future of geospatial technology is exciting. As a user I’m excited about technologies that will make easy for me to express myself and be more connected with friends and families — e.g., take photos with camera phones, tag them, and share them with families and friends on a map, and do all that in less than a minute. As a technologist I’m excited about new geospatial technology that will not just sit in some research labs but will impact the lives of the everyday people.

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