Mash-up hero !!

This is a great story from the mySociety blog, Michael Houlsby from East Hampshire council has built an API to the councils database to allow users of the fix my street application to post issues directly into the councils own operational database.

I can only imagine how hard this was to achieve not from a technical point of view, but from this bottom up approach to delivering a IT system, which goes completely against the usual philosophy of delivering IT systems in government.

Many people view mash-ups only as a way of publishing information, but really mash-ups are just about providing open interfaces to your online services, so it brilliant to see such an approach used in the UK to contribute information, which in turn potentially improves the quality of life for the lucky residents of East Hants !

Kudos to Michael, an example of the value to web 2.0 I will be using from now on..

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

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 !

OS OpenSpace thank you !

OK so it’s a lot more limited than many other mapping API’s out there, and it has certainly taken a long time to reach this point but the fact that OS Openspace is now open for business is a huge achievement, and believe me I know personally what a great achievement getting to this point is.

For many the people the limited nature of the API will not be an issue, they and the users of the applications they build will get access to the high quality cartography OS is famous for. Yes of course this is not quite what I had opened Openspace would be, but given the constraints that the OS has supporting commercial partners with less functionality than you or I now have, what we have is a great first step and will hopefully lead to the much needed rethink on how OS data and services are licensed.

However, (you knew there would be a but…) why does the OS need to know so much about any potential Openspace developer, you get your API key you need to complete this form.

Registration form

I don’t understand why the OS needs more than the url of the site that is going to be used, and it is unforgivable with the poor reputation of UK government in managing personal information that there is no promianate statement of how the data submitted will be managed and used or no clear privacy policy.

This needs to be changed immediately !!

Written and submitted from the BA Lounge , SFO, using the t-mobile wifi network.

OS OpenSpace at last !!

OS Openspace

The OS OpenSpace API has finally launched, just weeks before the deadline imposed by the Cabinet Office, with a alpha test phase with the system finally opening up early next year..

I’d love to see comments from anyone who is part of the alpha, but I guess they are under pretty strict NDA at the moment. [UPDATE 15/12 – There is no NDA, so I’m not sure why there are no examples]

One observation is the limit on the number of maps tiles which may be rendered for an API key, this is not something I have seen elsewhere, but I can understand it as a defence against accusations from commercial users of the data of unfairness.

Still is great to see something I put so much effort into during my time at the OS finally reaching the public.

Written and Submitted from the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Manama, Bahrain, using its wifi broadband network.

Calling Neogeographers.. UK Dinosaurs need your help!

Barney SurveyorOK so just a little tongue in cheek, but the AGI team behind the annual UK GI conference would like input in bringing in the perspective of the “Neo-geographers” in planning next years event.

This is a great idea, let’s hope that enough people in the new world of users of GI find such organisations still relevant.. this years AGI event went some way to breaking down the boundaries between the two ages of geography , lets hope the paleo-geograpahers are ready for the guys in jeans for there is much to learn !!

Written and submitted from the Googleplex , Mountain View.