Early Day Motion to support Bletchley Park Museum

Phil Willis MP, has tabled an Early Data Motion in Parliament calling for the UK Government to support the Museum at Bletchley Park, home of WWII codebreakers and the birthplace of computing. The motion reads ;

Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park

“That this House recognises the signficance of Bletchley Park, historic site of secret British code-breaking activities during the Second World War and birthplace of the modern computer; acknowledges that the use of the intelligence gained at Bletchley Park and subsequent related actions of the Allies is said to have shortened the Second World War by two years, saving countless lives; and calls on the Government to provide operational funding whilst the museum is developed for long-term sustainability, securing the site for future generations to visit, appreciate and understand.”

If you live in the UK please use the excellent Write to Them website, to send a message to your MP and ask them to support this motion. Having visited the Museum last week, support is critically needed I hate to think what the electricity bill for Colossus is !

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London

The Geoweb and Digital Mapping Conference 2009

Looks like the first conference of next year for me will be a new one, The Geoweb and Digital Mapping Conference 2009 is a new conference for Europe along the lines of Where 2.0 or Location Intelligence, to be held in London, 13-14 January.

It’s great to see a conference like this in Europe, as much innovation in the Geospatial area happens this side if the Atlantic, there is huge interest in free and open source solutions projects including OpenStreetMap, GDAL and  gvSIG started in Europe and some of the biggest names in the industry Nokia, Tom-Tom are of course European.

For all those Europeans who make the annual trek to San Francisco every summer, it looks like you now have something to keep you enthusiatic during the long winter, and it’s a great excuse to come to London !

Written and submitted from the Leader Hotel, Taipei using its free in-room internet.

UPDATE : Thanks Michael for pointing out my mistake, of course GDAL in not a project with a European start – my apologies to Frank but at least I did not accuse him of being an American !

The old computers quiz

A bit of midweek fun from the BBC. The old computers quiz inspired by a question asked on University Challenge no less, which my wife just knew I would love. A little UK-centric, but good fun anyway. I am a Super-Mario of old computers it seems, my children must be so proud !

Written and submitted from a First Great Western Train near Reading, using my Three 3G modem.

Whose map is it anyway..


View Larger Map

It’s mine all mine..

This is a map of recycling centres in Teddington, my local neighbourhood in London. I created it my looking up the locations of recycling centres run by my local council, the London Borough of Richmond, from their website and then added the points using the existing Google Map and Satellite image for context.

So who owns this new map ?

I do !

By publishing the map using Google Maps, I give Google a license to use my data but it’s “ownership” as such remains with me. The license is just an explicit statement of the implict intenention of publishing a map for consumption by the public using Google as a publication channel.

Google makes no claim over the intellectual property of the maps you create, they remain your maps and the data remains your data !

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

A conference rich in social capital

I got back last weekend from Cape Town and the Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) conference 2008, easily one of the best conference I have attended recently!

The FOSS4G conference is like no other attracting the most enthusiastic and active delegates who as well as talking about the potential of geospatial technology, also get on and build the tools.

To be fair Google has taken some criticism from the FOSS community for not making some of its user generated content available in its raw form “think geodata source code” rather than maps tiles, and this was a topic debated with some feeling at the conference. I did my best to explain our priorities in our approach to date, and I certainly enjoyed the debate.

The Google team from our Nairobi office ran a workshop on MapMaker which is making great progress in filling in the gaps in mapping Africa, in many countries making mapping publicly available for the first time.

mapmakerclass.jpg

For the moment making this mapping available for free to as many users of Google Maps and potential Google Maps API sites is our priority.

Following my keynote I spent as much time as possible at the Google Booth, and it was great to meet and talk to developers for literally around the world over half of the 500 people at the conference had travelling to South Africa to attend, again and indication of the commitment of the FOSS community to get things done.

The power of the FOSS community is demonstrated both by the almost complete stack of open source tools which can be used to build almost any scale of GIS system, and by the projects the community is involved in; projects such as Ushahidi which uses a combination of Free and Open Source tools to monitor human rights violations in Africa.

I spent Friday morning following the conference at Trafalgar High School in Cape Towns infamous District 6 running a workshop for teachers on using Google Earth for GIS education at the same time other delegates were running similar courses using other tools.

trafalger.jpg

If like me you are becoming a little tired of the introspection of the traditional and proprietary GIS world, check out OSGeo the organisation supporting many FOSS4G projects, and start saving for your air ticket to attend FOSS4G 2009 in Sydney… you won’t regret it.

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.