AGI Thoughts

A tale of two days in Stratford-upon-Avon

This evening I find myself in Dublin, Ireland looking at my glass of Kilkennys and reflecting on the past two days and the W3G and AGI Geocommunity events in Stratford upon Avon.

Is this glass half full or half empty, is the UK GI industry on the way up, or doomed to go the way of the CD-ROM encyclopedias ?

Depending on your attendance of the conferences in Stratford your answer to this question would be different. Attendees of the  W3G unconference on Tuesday would have experienced considerable energy, lively debate and optimism around the use of open data, free and open software and the potential of “neogeography” ( yes I know is just a label, but you all know what it means) There is huge potential to extend the use of geospatial information  in the UK efficiently and cheaply using the web platforms of today, and for people to create businesses around this new ecosystem.

This optimism survived all the way until about 11am today at the AGI Geocommunity conference and included the excellent upbeat presentation by Andy Hudson-Smith one of the few real innovators in the UK GI industry at the moment. ESRI UK’s presentation really turned optimism into despair once again introducing the tired old whinge that GIS should be a strategic necessity and central to how government works, but it is largely ignored by the powers that be…

Rather than learn the lessons of the last five years and concentrate on creating simple technological solutions that mean real user requirements quickly and cheaply, ESRI put the blame squarely on the GIS industry for not communicating the benefits of GIS and concentrating too much on complex technology.

Maybe somebody should buy Richard Waite, ESRI UK’s MD, a mirror ?

Talk about a contrast, the difference between the two days was extraordinary, and why  two separate days?

Last year the geomob stream brought much of the energy and frankly new people to the AGI event, this year most of the neogeo’s went home before the AGI conference started. This was a mistake, the future of the GI industry, if it is to have a future, is with the poeple who attended the w3g conference, the sooner the AGI realise this fundamental shift in the industry the better.

BTW when was the last time you attended a conference where you were told to Tweet responsibly and to be careful walking using your mobile device ? seriously..

Written and submitted from the Grand Canal Hotel, Dublin (53.338N, 6.237W)

AGI LBS Thoughts

The Weasley Clock and Google Latitude a mashup waiting to happen

In the UK there is a saying about waiting ages for a bus and then two come along at the same time. In the world of location based or context based computing it’s not exactly the case that there is little happening, but yesterday produced two interesting stories.

I had the pleasure on presenting at the AGI North Where2.0now event in Harrogate. It was a great event, but there was much joking from those who travelled from London and Southern England how far we had travelled.

Well now it’s possible to track exactly how far if you should choose too, as a Google Latitude user I can look at my history and see where I have travelled over a period of time.

As you would expect this is a service you need to opt in to, and by default your history will not be kept. But if you chose to store you history is makes a fascinating record of your travels here for example is my trip to Harrogate yesterday.


Tracking and storing you location is nothing new, John McKerrell has been doing so for a couple of years using his service.

At the conference yesterday he showed the coolest piece of geo hardware seen since the Garmin GPS45, a location clock powered by

If you have ever read any Harry Potter you will be familar with the idea of the Weasley Clock, a magical clock owned by the Weasley family which shows not the time but the location of members of the family and if they are in “Mortal Peril”.

Visit Johns blog to read how he has built a working Weasley clock using a Arduino kit, and great imagination.

So cool !!

Written and submitted from my home (51.425N, 0.331W)

AGI Technology Thoughts

Beyond Cartography : BCS Presentation

Here are the slides from my presentation to the British Computer Society Geospatial Special Group last night.

On their own the slides may not make much sense, hopefully Mr. Daly will be posting a video soon and I will give an abridged version of this presentation at next weeks where2.0now ? event in Harrogate – places still available !

Written and submitted from my home (51.425N, 0.331W)