The future of the map is no map !

Well that’s at least the way it’s gets reported…

Last week I was invited to speak on visualisation and “Big Data” at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and was interviewed by the “tech tonic” team from Reuters TV on the current state of maps online.

Here is the interview..

On the subject of visualisation, my main point is this…

It’s actually still very early in the development of interactive online maps and we are only just beginning to develop the tools to allow mapping to support the creation of a narrative, and then we still need to learn out to use these new tools effectively. A key tool in our new armoury of “neo-cartography” is animation.

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

Has the SDI community turned the corner ?

Yesterday I made a presentation at the 13th GSDI Conference in Quebec (thanks to Geoff for his commentary), it was only a flying visit but I left in a more positive frame of mind that I expected.

The high level message of my presentation was, we need to think more about the I in SDI e.g. infrastructure,  that we already have a well adopted information infrastructure we can use called the World Wide Web, to use it Geo people just have to be better web citizens.

For too long the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure community has been dominated by the producers of geospatial data, the Mapping Agencies, Cadastres and the Technology companies that serve their perceived needs. As a result discussions of Spatial Data, quality, standards and policy dominated.

I was pleased to see this observation reflected in a number of the plenary presentations, and the obvious logical extension that more focus needs to be concentrated on the potential users of SDI’s and their needs. This point was made brilliantly clear by Gilberto Câmara director of Brazils National Space Research Institute, INPE.

He introduced four questions any SDI supporter should answer..

  1. How much is your SDI being used to build a modern state ?
  2. How much is your SDI being used to enforce the rule of law ?
  3. How much is your SDI being used to support public accountability ?
  4. Is data from your SDI reaching those that need it ?

Key to answering these questions positively is I think a recognition that the true beneficiaries of a successful SDI, are not other data producers, governments, or public sector bodies, but society as a whole.

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

App Engine for Academics

As the geospatial world moves every closer to the mainstream IT, the potential of “Cloud” based technology to share mapping data and provide distributed processing for spatial analysis is increasing relevant to academics and researchers working in higher education.

Yesterday Google announced a programme to allow academics use of Google App Engine for their research projects. App Engine is the service used by Google for building and hosting web applications and offers fast development and deployment, simple administration and built-in scalability.

This new award programme will support up to 15 projects by providing App Engine credits in the amount of $60,000 to each project for one year. In its first year, the program is launched in a limited number of countries, including the UK.

See the RFP for details.

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

A two speed geospatial world ?

“Will A “Geo-Divide” Arise Between Nations In The Future?”

Kevin is right on the money with this, although I would argue the timeframes could be compressed by a factor of two.. we are already beginning to see a divide emerging even within Europe.. Street view vs. non-Street view countries for example.. or the ludicrous decision of a French court re Google Maps !

The fundamental tension remains the ability of Governmental and legal frameworks to keep pace with technological change, but increasingly this is no longer an academic debate as nations economies will be directly impacted.

If you were a geo entrepreneur where would you set up your business ?

Written and Submitted from the ALoft Hotel, Broomfield. CO. (39.905N, 105.090W)

Find a hotel using isochrones

One of the benefits of getting comprehensive public transport information fully integrated in Google Maps is the potential to include public transport in all forms of local search. An example of this is the experiment launched over the weekend to search for hotels based upon a travel time from a location. In the example below searching for Hotels within 25 minutes of the Google Office by public transport…

The use of travel time or isocrone maps is of course not new , Mapumental really pioneered they use on line with their public transport map developed with Channel 4,  the next step for Google was greater integration of  this analytical capability with local search in near real time !

The areas you can easily reach from your point of interest are spotlighted on the map, and you can modify the search criteria using different maximum travel times or methods of travel, perhaps you only want to find hotels only within 10 minutes walk,  the map will update automatically to show a new spotlighted area and the nearby hotels.

You can also drag the red pin to find hotels near other places you might like to visit and agin the map will automatically refresh.

Written and submitted from the Google Offices, London (51.495N, 0.146W)