GIS Technology Thoughts

Jabbering on about GML

Although we GI people are very keen on GML our own XML, we all realise that XML is making much bigger impacts in the wider IT world. One great example I have come across as a result of my recent upgrade to Tiger is XMPP the XML description used by Jabber, a cross-service instant messaging system.

As a mac guru my preferred IM client is iChat which uses the AOL instant messaging system AIM, or uses local ad-hoc IP networks – the rather naff named “bonjour” system. But most of my friends, relations and my wife use MSN Messenger network until now a closed system which needed its own advert filled client application. Not to mention all those people out there using ICQ, yahoo etc.

As of the Tiger release of MacOS X , iChat now supports the Jabber system as well which means it now supports most of the popular IM systems from one client. Jabber works by passing xml encoded messages between servers which translate between the various propitiatory systems in real time – so at last from iChat I can send messages to be wife who is using MSN Messenger – I can also see her status available or not, and even pass smileys !

So can you draw the obvious parallel? this is a fabulous example of how GML could potentially be used in the future geospatial web, moving amounts of geodata between different geographic information services in real time.

It is also interesting to note that Jabber developed as a open source project, not pushed by any of existing IM operators who quite liked their closed shops – another parallel ?

btw IM traffic between my wife and I is largely one way consisting of shopping lists – ah the joys of technology.

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

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