Category: Uncategorized

Digital TV and paper maps

Did a short package with Dutch TV yesterday in Amsterdam talking about the differences between the maps of the great Dutch cartographers of the 17th Century and modern Google Maps.

In some ways there are surprising similarities, both in effect are all about discovery, earlier discoveries of new lands to exploit have been replaced by personal discoveries of places important to the individual a result of yes the democratisation of mapping.   

The 17th century maps of Blaeu et al are currently on display in Amsterdam at an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Het Scheepvaartmuseum, which is worth a visit if you get the chance.

As a amateur video geek I was impressed to see that even network TV now make use of digital SLRs for video production, not quite the shift mapping is going through from paper to mobile phones but still a significant step from the last generation of big professional video cameras.

Digital video technology has fundamentally changed TV production, I'm sure nobody on the production team of "Een Vandaag " know how to use cine film… I wonder when we will say the same thing about paper maps ?


Less Map, More Apps

I was able to make a flying visit to the State of the Map US conference yesterday in Washington DC. As usual it had the higher than average GIS conference energy levels, but it felt really different to previous events to me..

Firstly the conference was a step up in terms of the professionalism of organisation, congratulations to the local organising team even if they owe me a T-Shirt !

The real difference I guess compared to SOTM events in Europe was more focus on the opportunities that the map as a dataset provides to other organisations and companies to build additional products and services many of which are commercial.  The large investments made by Map Box and those announced by Digital Globe in developing the ecosystem around OSM are evidence of this..

Perhaps as a result  of this perspective the big topic of the weekend was the ongoing debate around the ODbL licence and it's impact on the use of OSM within third party products.

Is it more than a cliche then to say that the US is more entrepreneurial than Europe ?   


Google Faculty Research Award call open !

The Google Research Awards  programme is open again open for applications and now in addition to computer science/GIS related projects the scope has been expanded into policy areas and we’re eager now to attract top notch researchers to submit applications on Internet policy matters.

Researchers can apply for up to $150,000. However most first time awards are funded at the amount needed to support basic expenses for one graduate student for one year, or around $50,000. Please see the FAQs for more details on eligibility and budgets.

Applications for the next funding round are due by April 15th.

Each funded project will be assigned a Googler as sponsor. The role of the sponsor is to support the project by discussing research directions, engaging with professors and students, and overseeing collaboration between the project team and Google.

In the last round the following Geo related projects obtained funding..

  • General Bounding Mechanism for Constraint Programs
  • Modeling the World’s Appearance
  • Building Entrance Recognition from Street-Level LiDAR and Video Images
  • Improving Terrain Perception in Web Maps
  • On Relating Visual Elements to City Statistics

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions..




Free Google Geo workshop at the EGU

During the week of the annual European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, my colleagues from the Google Earth Engine team will be holding a workshop for  Research and Higher Education users .


This free workshop will provide a hands-on introduction to Google’s Geo cloud technologies, including Google Earth Engine for geospatial data analysis and Google Maps Engine for geospatial data management and publication. The workshop will be held Monday, 28 April, 2014, 18:00 – 22:00 at the Hotel Das Triest (map), a short U-Bahn ride away from the Austria Centre Vienna conference centre. If you are in Vienna  for EGU, we hope that you can attend this event as you begin the week of events. Please find the complete invitation and application here:

We hope you will consider attending this event. Feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues and make sure to apply by the application deadline: March 26, 2014.

You can also find more information on the event’s site here:

A Map inside

We spend about 70% of our lives indoors, a real data capture challenge, as your need a very scalable solution -

ProjectTango may be part of the solution.. 

Early days of course, but there is real potential with this approach, perhaps more than efforts focused on data standards which overlook how the data will be captured..

The project team have 200 prototype dev kits to distribute to Open Source developers working in projects including of course  indoor navigation and mapping.

Visit for details