Where 2.0: Mike Liebhold's take on GeoWeb

nym | 09:38 AM

michael-liebhold.jpgI'm at O'Reilly's Where 2.0 conference, and I just heard a talk from Mike Liebhold, who is someone I know from the Institute For The Future (IFTF). The focus of the talk was the future of the geospatial web, and the current state of it, and it was particularly interesting to me because most of his slides incorporated wearable computing and/or augemented reality. The core struggle of the geospatial web seems to be labeling all this cartographic data out there, which is something that the web as a whole seems to be doing very well with simple systems like tagging. There are going to be many big jumps in the world of mapping, many of those to do with opening up of this data, community efforts (such as Open Street Maps), and hardware infrastructure improving.

As Mike says, "Investors, take the long road.".

Notes from Nat after the jump.

Big changes coming in 2008-2015, bunch of new GPS satellites going to be launched. Galileo going up, which is frequency compatible. GPS and Galileo are CDMA systems, number of vendors buliding compatible chipsets.
Russians talking about reviving their GPS system. Perhaps by 2015 we'll have cm accuracy that'll allow us to do real-time kinematics so device in motion knows where it is.
E911 and new wifi location services rquire you to submit the AP address and they'll look it. Even though they protect your privacy, you still have to query the network.
As far as E911, phone has GPS but hardware and telecom companies won't let me have access to it. Ease up, let us build the mobile web. Give us an API for the GPS in our mobile phones. [applause]
Smart phones could be decent platforms but they're not because they're walled gardens.
Automotive dashboards could be good, but growing feeling that CRTs are causing accidents. Perhaps audible web.
In the future, enhancements to bodies: HUDs and glasses.
New cartography. Experiments have been with 2D maps. Now with Google Earth and MSN Live Local 1st person view, A9 ... people are beginning to think about 1st person view of geospatial information. Augmented video view that exist only in lab.
Mockup: geospatial tags on physical reality. With the HUD view, can see fictional information draped across real world, in addition to scientific geodata and annotated hypermedia. New forms of entertainment ahead of us.
Mockup of research project oulu in FI. Project with Nokia.
To do all this, we need a cubic cartography. 3D cartography. As much as we'd like to have 2D coordinate systems to exchange data, have to begin to think about 3D and soon. Google's thinking about it, bought SketchUp. At a finer grain, we want location information that's located in a very small place. Very interesting things going on at Human INterface lab in Washington. AR Toolkit.
"hitlab" is the lab in Washington. Dozens of labs building apps using that toolkit.
Schuyler talks about dots on tiles pejoratively, like geospatial web is more about dots on tiles. I'm interested in what's happening on my dot. I'm standing on a map 1m square: what's with this place right here. Metaphor for this is tricorder. We should build a tricorder for planet Earth. 1m map with layers stacked over your head.
Would like to have MS and ESRI report back to us on how far along we are in building tricorder. Simple idea belies complexity of data mining and knowledge engineering required.
Lots of data need to be interoperable. Project for data excahnge in life sciences. Open source, Boulder Colorado. "Everything Globe". Visualization of a lot of stuff in one sphere.
Exchange knowledge for infrastructure. Katrina, 911, Tsunami, shows there's a need to integrate massive amounts of geodata from many sources. Huge challenge and a lot of funding coming to make geodata interoperable.
Also need interoperable data for consumer apps. You can walk into grocery store and see manufacturer's information, would work with RFID tags as well. Search on ingredients, consumer safety, price shopping.
Can have data interop for other kinds of location intelligence, enterprise apps.
To build a tricorder we need a search capability and we have a problem of huge magnitude. Lot of geodata out there. In baroque collection of repositories, one stops, gateways, etc.
some use web services, some use proprietary database queries. as michael goodchild says, there's very little metadata out there. spent time last week with a number of cartographers, and it's a problem they acknowledge. They don't label their layers, their geodata. They're just files with arcane filenames. ""ho ho, how many people comment their code?"
Even the collections themselves aren't labelled. The one-stops can't tell you what they've got. Google, ESRI, Microsoft-class problem.
Geodata has to be put into hierarchies and taxonomies. Translation problem: how do you map data from one discipline to another discipline. Web data and web geodata will probably have delicious or flickr style tags. People already tagging point annotations. Best way to view this is as a tag cloud.
How to merge formal and informal information is a challenge ahead. Lot of work to do to have interoperable data for our tricorder.
(big diagram)
Efforts going on to convert data. First gen of open standard map and feature servers, getting robust enough to be used. See osgeo folks for more about this. Some attempts to geocode the legacy web (data mining for addresses).
New geocoded web doesn't exist yet, no accepted standards. Lot of people building a lot of ways to tag web hypermedia. HOpe in the middle that XML, RDF, GML will melt the edges and make things more interoeprable.
Industrial GIS shops have more data than you can imagine.. but many don't even think about web services or know the term web 2.0.. hence one reason for lack of metadata/tagging
New standard in works, GeoRSS. RSS items can be geocoded and thenviewed.
Three versions of GeoRSS: simple (lat-long), GML version gives semantic riches of GML, and third version is original Yahoo! version.
If you can't exchange data, it's all play.
Industrial guys have reasons for domain specific knowledge, and I say to the geospatial people that OGC has been working with vendors to get layered cartographic data interop between vendors. On the other side, Google and others pursuing independent ways to mark up data. I don't care how it was created, I want to be able to read my data on everybody's client.
Platial makes their data available in GeoRSS natively. Great start.
One problem as we get going is spam. (great slide)
Serious problem, semantic problem, how to filter spatial spam the same way you filter email spam. Serious issues around location authentication.
Range of standards in the area, some are mature and evolving, some are open and unresolved.
Geocodes for hypermedia are in process. GeoRSS in fast track to be approved by OGC and have interest from W3C.
Web map servers, web feature servers. Lot of efforts to come up with standard metadata, though it's unclear people will use it. US Federal Geospatial Data Committee.
scalable vector graphics coming, people moving to Flash and Ajax and other ways to render data, so unclear SVG will be adopted
still need identity management and not just for spatial web but for our privacy, e-commerce, medical records. huge metaproblem
location privacy is a genuine problem.
APIs for device location a big problem.
And would be nice to have a gelocation beacon (wifi AP) database for download. PlaceLab great but not clear what Intel's intent is to make it a standard.
One critical policy: make free data free.
Lot of governments product geodata and won't 'let their own citizens hvae it.
US citizens blessed. Government very generous in making geodata public. Vast amounts of data you can download and use, starting from TIGER and many other kinds.
Aus, NZ, Canada have very generous policies for sharing geodata as well.
UK and Europe it's a point of contention, and in developing world it's hardly even reached threshold of an issue.
Map is a assessment readiness of world for geospatial web.
Investors: watch the tech curve.
Investors, take the long road.

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