FOWA London - Beyond GoogleMaps


Last week I was fortunate to speak at the much lauded Future of Web Apps London (FOWA). Ryan Carson and his team put on a well-crafted conference with a great line-up of speakers such as Blaine, Kevin, Matt and more.

I was the only geo related talk, with quite a broad title "Beyond GoogleMaps". The space is quite broad and is evolving quickly. Especially coming from a series of conferences at Web2.0 Expo New York and FOSS4G in Cape Town, in addition to the work we're doing on GeoCommons, there was a bevy of new concepts and technologies that we worth highlighting.

As for the title, I actually didn't pick it (or at least don't remember choosing it). In fact, I think Google has done tremendous strides in pushing web mapping through their own toolkits and applications. GoogleMaps has some advanced capabilities such as interface styling, alternate tilesets, encoded and simplified geometries, and flash interface. However, a strident claims gain interest and again the purpose was to engage developers to look beyond just slapping a map up on a site and calling it done. They really need to consider the usability, accessibility, and design of their cartographic interface as much as any other component.

My goal with the talk was to inspire developers and designers to play with new tools, and for managers to realize what is possible and appropriate and spur their teams into creating compelling applications with geospatial capabilities. The actual implementation of this desk was 201 slides in less than 40 minutes. One attendee commented afterwards that it was like "watching a stream." The 178 slides in the uploaded deck have the "Nonline" and AtomPub slides removed. I did not give proper coverage of these major issues and in the end felt they were best left out of this deck.

I concur that overall the presentation is was quite fast. I hope it was inspiring and enjoyable and that people walked away eager to find out more about the possibilities of web mapping. Fortunately you can get the full video and highlights and watch at half or quarter speed. You can also get the slide deck.

I actually have some plans for this presentation to expand out into a better and discoverable walk-through of mapping technologies. Stay tuned. And thanks Carsonified and the FOWA team!

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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.