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Where2.0 that matters

Published in Government, Neogeography, Where2.0

Last night I spoke at Ignite Where2.0. The community and ecosystem of Where2.0 continues to utilize cutting-edge technology to provide consumer and business services and needs. You can locate activities, friends, stores, media and more and have it integrated into mobile lives and online personas.

These are all great advancements, and are blurring the lines between the online digital data and our interaction with the real world. However it’s vital that we realize the real potential application of these technologies and what our legacy is on the entire world. How can we engage with global citizens, understand their needs and desires, and collaborate on building channels of information and tools that serve our individual and collective goals.

Almost two years ago I moved from Michigan, with stints in California, to Washington, DC. I moved at an auspicious time in our nation as the highly contentious presidential election approached at the same time concerns on transparent monitoring of democratic elections and process loomed. Social media and streams such as twitter, smartphones, voice technology and visualization provided the components to demonstrate how we can enable citizens to share their experiences, their problems, and for us to openly see problems and victories as they occurred.

This same concept applies just a well around the world. Open platforms such as Ushahidi have helped bring citizen reporting in elections in India, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan – each to different outcomes – but still in a way that harbinges a more open and transparent government process.

Now through my experiences with CrisisCommons, working with multinational organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations, and the federal and local governments, it’s clear to see how the leading edge of the Where2.0 community can have an amazing and unparalleled impact in providing understanding and change in global and local issues: Environment change, food security, humanitarian development, education, and disaster response.

In looking at the various open government initiatives, the questions arise in looking past the press release to the realized value of sharing data with businesses and citizens. I was struck my the foresight of the Arkansas AGIO team in the realization of how sharing data as broad and wide as possibly helps mitigate their vulnerability to disaster by enabling responders open access to vital information that would assist in response.

This concept is apparent in how OpenStreetMap was successful in Haiti. With the lack of official, government supplied data the best solution was to crowd-source the information from varied sources and rebuild the national data infrastructure, external to the government itself. While it has been unpredictably successful, the value continues to be the open access of the data by any and all organizations, and the eventual adoption by the government itself in rebuilding its capacity. The hope is that the government continues to openly collaborate with the global community in managing and maintaining this data so that the situation doesn’t need to reoccur.

In summary, the community is making a difference. The tools we develop in WhereCamp, IRC, open-source communities, and from companies are changing the capabilities of crisis response and development. My message is to urge the larger community to continue to think how their solutions can have a more broad impact.

If your technology can help a consumer find a great $4 latte, that’s good for your business. If it can also help a child find clean water near their village, that’s good for the world.

Registering for Where2.0? – it all comes around again

Published in Conference, Where2.0

Where2.0 registration early-bird pricing ends today (with an extra 10% off via whr09twt1 code now with 25% off goodness with whr09cm25 – or even higher discounts if you qualify under one of the other groups (students, academic, government)).

Schedule_ Speakers_ Where 2.0 Conference 2009 - O_Reilly Conferences, May 19 - 21, 2009, San Jose, CA.jpg

For me – the most compelling thing about Where2.0 this year is seeing the round-trip evolution of GeoHackers 3 years ago, to viable, growing businesses. It’s been widely recognized that the Where2.0 follow-on, WhereCamp, is where innovators and thinkers spend the weekend considering what the future of location technology is – but now it’s even becoming mainstream.

Steve Coast went from a crazy idea, to a global community, to a funded-global business and is talking about Ubiquitous GeoContext. Dennis Crowley has done it before and doing it again and discussing the social-locative ghosts of past and future. DC is being represented by Eric Gunderson, Tim “Chippy” Waters’ open-source map rectifier is being used in major libraries – and Chris Spurgeon, well, his talks are awesome and the perfect way to end the conference with Maps in Space. And there are even more that I believe will be announced soon.

Besides the evolution of Where2.0 – there is a cadre of immersive, submersive, subversive, pervasive, innovative, locative, mobile, designprincipled, compelling.

And there may even be some cool locative games to join in on.

(disclosure: I am a member of the Where2.0 conference selection committee and as such obviously think everyone speaking is awesome and should be heard by as many people as possible.)

State of Transit Routing

Published in Neogeography, Where2.0


Jim Stogdill and I had a conversation a week ago about the new iPhone 2.2 firmware that includes walking directions as well as similar projects in the space. In my Where2.0 Report I talked about the convergence of mobile devices and the effect on multi-modal routing: your phone changing from auto to walking to metro directions based on your context. However, I didn’t go in-depth on example projects and services.

Jim posted my notes of our discussion on O’Reilly Radar. So check them out there. It’s just an overview, but let me know if I missed an interesting project or story about open-data (or lack of).

Where2.0 Proposals ending on Monday

Published in Conference, Where2.0

Where2.0 2009 Banner

It’s been mentioned elsewhere – but wanted to remind you to work on your Where2.0 proposals over the US Thanksgiving Holiday. They are due on Monday.

Each year Where2.0 has demonstrated the migration of location technology from the bleeding edge and locative media art to mainstream businesses and practices. Yet we have just begun to realize the potential. Where2.0 is the conference to hear the newest announcements, learn from experts in the industry, and meet and collaborate on new projects and ventures.

I know people out there are doing amazing work on bringing advanced climate change analysis coupled with user-contributed data to pinpoint carbon emissions or the changing migratory paths of endangered species, repurposing outdated mobile phones for biological sensors, application of geospatial tools to community building, humanitarian and disaster response and citizen media, immersive, augmented reality through wearable and interactive devices – and of course the holy grail, how to realize a viable business plan amongst all this great potential.

Submitting a proposal is easy to do and speaking at Where2.0 is incredibly rewarding. You’ll find it difficult to find such an absorbed and forward thinking crowd to share your work with.

O’Reilly WebCast: Trends and Technologies in Where 2.0

Published in Neogeography, Presentation, Where2.0

Tomorrow I’ll be giving a webcast presentation with O’Reilly: “Trends and Technologies in Where2.0”. It will be a short presentation – approximately 20 minutes – then with about 40 minutes for question and answer discussion.

So if you want to ask anything about new and upcoming GeoWeb technologies, communities using geospatial technology, or businesses that are growing in the various spaces of geodata, locative mobile, or even just cool hacks then definitely register!

My apologies to people in timezones that makes this occur on your Friday evening. Since it’s participate at home, you can enjoy it over a nice beverage or meal.