Server App -> Desktop App -> Web App -> Desktop App

Changing locations of my apps

It seems as though the development of *where* an application should reside is constantly switching between local and shared. When the microcomputer became prevalent and available for anyone's desk (and then lap), it was great because then one needn't request computer time. You had your own computer and could run what you wanted on it.

Then there was the development of many web apps. "No need to install and update, just run our web app/network app and we'll maintain it for you". For mapping, this was illustrated in the move from having Microsoft Streets and Route66 and other apps to people using MapQuest or GoogleMaps.

Now Google is moving it back to desktops with their free release of Google Earth (well, repackaged/updated software from a vendor they purchased).

Still very cool
What's great though is these apps are still very network centric. As pointed out by Dan Catt of GeoBloggers, GoogleEarth can accept any 'network link' of data and overlay it with a map. It's very easy now to publish information, similar to an XML file but called a KeyHole file, that can then be brought into your GoogleEarth application and displayed on the map.

I had stopped working on SpyTrack, a Mac desktop application which displayed friends and RSS location feeds on a map 2-years ago since I had seen the focus moving towards web-based apps. I'm interested to see if GoogleEarth really gets a huge using. I, for one, bounce between many computers throughout the day(s), and so having a desktop app installed and configured wherever I sit down is difficult.

About this article

written on
posted in TechnologyMaps Back to Top

About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.