Some geowanker sent me this video of Mike Liebhold giving a lecture on the Geospatial Web. It's not from Where2.0, but Mike has some good stuff to say. This guy predicted the web, and is in the business of predicting trends for the Institute For The Future (IFTF). If you didn't catch his Where 2.0 keynote, I'd watch this.
[ Link to embedded quicktime video ]
This is graduate student Daniel L. Ashbrook from the Georgia Institue of Technology at the Where 2.0 Conference in San Jose, CA. Picture by James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Media.
I'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.
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.
Probably in reaction to Europe's plan to out-tech the US with their GPS system called Galileo, the US has upgraded their GPS system to increase power output and accuracy of signals using something called L2C. While L2C was activated yesterday, your existing GPS will suck just as much as it did before- you're going to need to get a new GPS with updated chips in order to reap the benefits.
I've been very busy recently with my yearly pet project surrounding the Burning Man festival in the Nevada Black Rock Desert. This year, I'm seeing more and more people come together with their interest in cartography than ever before. The sponsored mapping group, PlayaInfo is also expanding their geographic reach by supporting a GPSDrive friendsd server so that participants with art cars can broadcast their location to the main map. Seems like a perfect fit for cyborgs and technomads alike!
"We plan to support GPSdrive this year. That includes running a friendsd server (which is perhaps what you meant?). For anybody not already familiar, GPSDrive is a program that displays your GPS location on a calibrated raster map - and it can share your location with others (and receive theirs) via WiFi. The friendsd server is the program that collects position reports via WiFi and broadcasts them again on the same medium." -Zhahai (PlayaInfo Techie)
Here's a screenshot from the detailed maps made by the PlayaInfo team:
And here's a GPS based map from someone named Zorro:
My work directly involves the use of GPS units. I'm helping the art placement team, the ARTery, keep track of all the artwork on the open playa. The following is a Flash based map that has all of last year's artwork loaded, and will be used on site this year to visualise all the data collected by the ARTery, and citizen cartographers alike:
Like last year, I'll be providing this map, along with PlayaInfo's Digital Directory map on our camp's public access PC. Here's a picture of it from last year:
Finally, I just got done contributing to my 2nd O'Reilly book, Google Map Hacks, and of course, I used pictures from last year's burn as an example for my Google Maps Slideshow Hack.
So there it is, a quick roundup of cartography at Burning Man, Black Rock City. I plan to blog from the event on igargoyle, detailing some of the cooler art and technology I see on the desert dry lake bed. In the mean time, I'm going to be really busy, so please submit links and descriptions to keep the site going!
If you are going to Burning Man, and would like to hear more about cartography and cool things to do with your GPS, we're holding an event on Thursday at 4:00 in camp ROAMnet in the Brane village (Cathersis & 8:00). Also there is the online tribe, PlayaMaps, and BRC_GPS the mailing list.
Burn baby, burn.
Google has released an API for their new Maps service, finally sanctioning the massive amount of hacking that has taken place with their XML based web service. Geo-Hackers have been wondering for the past couple of weeks what has been happening, with various hacks breaking due to changes made by Google. Yesterday (or this morning), Google finally released a very liberal API to build upon their service. You need to register a key based on your url, but as long as you don't use it to sell drugs, limit access to your hack, or go beyond 50K page views in a day, you're basically golden.
Google, good work.
It was written by my geo-wanker friends, most notably Schuyler Erle, Rich Gibson, and Jo Walsh. If you want to order the book, please do so using this link. I won't get a cut, but Schuyler, Rich, and Jo will.
Mapping Hacks [Amazon.com]
The GIS community is giving some good reviews too:
If you're into digital cartography, it's a pretty good book. My hack is about doing your own georeferenced photos, and it's hack #10.
Yay, two more cool new GeoGames out there. The first is another take on Pac-Man, technically quite like the ARQuake project.
To aim the raygun at a ghost, you must physically move toward it. The faster you walk/run, the higher the raygun�s range.' [near near future]
Oh and it uses the Nextel GPS phones, so you can beta test for free if you have the i710 or i730. By the way, I own the i860, and man is it sweet, if you don't mind the shitty outgoing plans. GPS and cameraphone. I love it.
By the way... kids, don't make prank phone calls to 911, especially with a GPS cellphone.
[from Rich Gibson's Photos]
A GeoWanker friend of mine, Mike Liebhold organized the New Geography confrence with the Institute for the Future. Tech writer, Howard Rheingold wrote up his take of the "locative experience" which included a psychogeographic walk using tablet PCs and Chris Goad's maps from his company Map Bureau.
Pictured to the right is one of the maps the group used, which is a really great example of what geotagging can bring out about the world around us.
[The Geoweb and Deep Place. Thanks Mike!]
Ever try using mapquest to get walking directions? A bit afraid to take their recommendation to use the freeway? Maybe you need better directions...
Whereas traditional journey planning services only offer one mode of transport, PEPTRAN is able to offer a journey based on driving, walking and public transport services. You might start your journey by driving to the edge of a city, where PEPTRAN will direct you to a car park which has vacant spaces. PEPTRAN will then tell you how to reach the nearest metro station or bus stop, and will tell you which line or service to take to reach your destination. To offer the best possible route from A to B, PEPTRAN knows what is happening out on the street. For example, if your bus is running late, maybe there's a better way?" [PEPTAN]
The service is only offered in Winchester and Hapshire in the UK, and Torino in Italy, but ideas like these don't generally stay so localized. Maybe some big map company will take the hint, and start including public transport information in their maps.
Above photo is a montage of the road data + art installations, the lower right image is what it will likely look like on your GPS. I used the Mad Max photo since he looks pretty lost like I usually am.
If you're going to Burning Man, and you're taking a GPS, you might want to nab these files, which are waypoints for Burning Man. They look a bit old, as the playa changes slightly every year, but I'll make sure to get the skinny since I'm doing technomadics at Burning Man anyways.
Why is it that most cartographers are hopelessly lost? Maybe I'm speaking from experience, but it seems like mapping, despite being one of the oldest exploratory traditions, is still quite young. Some people seem to think the world has already been discovered by people like Columbus and Magellan, but I think they just scratched the surface.
so they're looking for a killer RDF app, like everyone else. i maintain that the solution and the problem are the same thing; not a killer app, but a thousand interlocking sub-apps, enhancing each other; the swarm of bots, propelling themselves about a fluid continuum."
Jo gets it. She knows the power of RDF coupled with geo technologies. Defining space is about the name space and semantics. Trying to get well established companies and government cartography institutions to open up is a bit like trying to get your cat to take a bath. Even in countries like the United States, where government maps are more open, they still aren't reliable enough to use for generic things like driving directions, and the only other option is to lease expensive geographic feeds from companies like Mapquest and ESRI.
In this writer's opinion, community and open-source developers will be the ones forging the emerging cartography world, not a business model or better PDAs. Jo is the smartest girl I know, and possibly the smartest geek I know. The Ordinance Survey could greatly benefit the people of Britian if they open up and listen to cartography pioneers like Jo Walsh, who are often all too eager to hack shit up in the name of progress.
[Link from www.zooleika.org.uk]
Near Near Future futurism fangirl Regine says "I just read that you have to write a paper about locative games: [elastic space � Mobile social software applications] (via the excellent "Pasta & Vinegar")". This is a "growing list of social applications that work in a mobile context", but often the social mobile networks are just as fun as the ones with fantasy and complicated scoring systems.
Using ideas behind collaborative cartography, Elephant Paths attempts to find common routes by doing analysis on GPS tracklogs. The author, Mari Keski-Korsu calls it "a project that explores a geographical and social space by mapping paths.", and is generating simple flash maps that includes geo-referenced images and video links.
While the project is premature and doesn't yet scale, Elephant Paths is an interesting idea playing on community, space, and motivations, and definitely should be incorporated in larger collaborative mapping web sites.
Accelerometers are tiny sensors that can detect small ammounts of movement, which has a lot of potential for location and geo based projects that require pinpoint precision instead of the 20-60ft range most GPS units provide.
Microsoft has been doing development into the relm of wearable computers with projects like the SenseCam. Lyndsay Williams' research with Microsoft has produced a small and potentially cheap device that uses accelerometers along with other sensors to track light, skin resistance, heart rate, and one's movement. Something that most hospitals would love to have for their patients, as well as at-home-patients and the elderly.
After doing research on locative technology I found this tidbit about services like dodgeball and whoat (whoa-tee) that try to introduce people to each other by alerting them to people close to them geographically.
Interesting. What these services seem to lack is passive locative signaling. It's one thing to be punching into your cellphone "I'm at the corner of 1st and Main St" verses your cellphone broadcasting the information to a server which controls who is able to access your information, which is much more close to a GPS service.
Cellphones likely will become the new GPS, with embedded GPS chips, and more sophisticated management of your tracklogs, geo-images, and social network. While locative technology is cool, I agree with mobile-blog's assertion that these two services are a waste of energy, because it assumes that:
[Link from mobile-weblog]
"...mobile phone users can send a text message containing a six-digit code unique to their bus stop to a local bus company.
Within 30 seconds a text message is sent back giving the location of the bus."
This is pretty interesting as the issue of finding oneself can be pretty daunting as Chris Heathcote explained in his ETech presentation earlier this year entitled "35 Ways To Find Your Location", which touched on using bus and taxi stops as a way to help find your location since they often use similar unique identifiers. In any case I'm still bothering my phone company to stop archiving my text messages for johnny law, and start allowing their customers to figure out where they are since they already know anyways.
I'm currently working on a hack for an upcomming book called "Mapping Hacks" for O'Reilly Books, so this hack from Digital Photography Hacks really caught my attention. David suggests using TopoVision to create the images, but my friend Schuyler has a perl hack which links albums to GPS tracklogs as well if you're not a Windows user. In addition, Anselm and I (Tom Longson), are working on a way to streamline this process by autolinking photos to tracklogs with just a web browser. If you're interested in getting started, this article is sure to help.
The Associated Press has a review of the Garmin Forerunner 201 (pictured to right) and the Timex�s Bodylink System (pictured below), both wrist mounted GPS units for runners. Each unit has specialized functions for specifically for runners.
For example, the Garmin allows you to run with a virtual runner on the display who runs at your specified pace. One could imagine Garmin or Timex building future units to allow Olympic runners to against AI virtual rivals to better their game based on their performance.
The AP article says the timex tranciever is superior in GPS performance, but the Garmin comes with the ability to transfer data out of the box, and records elevation and incline information. While Timex is silly to not include something so basic as altitude, unlike the Garmin, you may have to purchase an add-on to get a heart rate monitor for $36. The Garmin comes with the ability to save running data, and software to make graphs of your performance, while the Timex needs an add-on (which comes with the data cables), for $50.
Another feature the Garmin has that the Timex doesn't software to encourage you to try new trails while giving you directions to get back, which sounds really neat to me, but the reporter says that on average the Garmin took longer to get a satellite lock, and also lost it's signal more often, especially around tall buildings.
Garmin Forerunner 201: $130,
2.8 ounces, better for rural areas, better features.
Timex�s Bodylink System (with heart rate monitor): $232
~6 ounces, better for citites, expect to pay $282 to record data.
I think Sony's 'Navi' in car systems just got launched in Japan, but even if they haven't, the article over at Linux Devices really makes the geo-geek in me drool. These pictures appeal to my visual side, my video gaming side, and my where-the-fuck-am-i?! side.
"The 3D mapping interface shows actual buildings, and knows street addresses, enabling it to identify destination addresses. In the picture at right, it has identified a gas station belonging to a promotional partner. Advertising for many other businesses, such as fast food outlets, appears to be built into the maps."
What really makes me wonder about this technology is the level of detail these maps seem to sport. Anyone in locative field knows how hard it can be to maintain realistic road maps, let alone map the position of safty hazzard cones. I get the feeling I need to impress upon Dave Coleman's girlfriend, Mie to interview the Navi guys.
Engadget just gave some interesting information about some GPS units which act a bit differently. These were originally spotted by the Inquirer at the Computex trade show in Taiwan this week.
BT-318...a Bluetooth GPS module from GlobalSat which has an optional GPRS modem that�ll let you get online with your PDA or laptop (as long as they have Bluetooth, too). The other is Aqik�s new GPS locator for automobiles, which comes with a built-in GSM cellphone so that if your car gets stolen all you have to do is send the locator a text message and you�ll instantly get a message back with its exact location. And since it�s also a phone you can even secretly call it up and listen in on the thieves enjoying your automobile.
Cameraphones are becoming more of a wearable device than a phone these days. A new product in this vein is SpotCode, a barcode system for pointing and clicking on various devices, such as vending machines or computers. This is done by using a cameraphone with bluetooth to relay "selections" based on barcodes on displays or signs.
Another application of cameraphones and barcodes came up during the ETech conference in San Diego. Chris Heathcote presented "35 ways to Find Your Location", which touched on using barcodes, cameraphones, and sticker printers to coat a city with locative barcodes to help people find where they are. Another use for this technology are "hidden" messages, and "barcode tagging".
Schuyler Erle who is currently working on a Geo Hacks book for O'Reilly, has produced the first open source, completely free, geocoder, called "geocoder.us". This means that you can use his code and the US TIGER database to translate American addresses into a longitude and latitude.
[Link. Thanks Schuyler!]