Touring the Midwest

Grizzly Peak Brewpub

As part of some continuing work with clients and heading to the OGC Technical Committee meeting to wrap up the OGC Web Services KML initiative (OWS-5 Agile Geography) - taking a very quick trip to Ann Arbor (2 days) and St. Louis for 3 days.

Stopping in Ann Arbor was really great. It's the first city I've lived in long term that wasn't attached to my attending school. When visiting my other alma maters I am primarily faced with nostalgia, but disconnect since all my acquaintances were transient like me and I know few people remaining in the town.

Ann Arbor, however, is like coming home. By contrast to my previous residences, as I wrote before I was fortunate to connect into a great community that is thriving here. Within an hour of sitting in a coffee shop I serendipitously connect with two great people - and had meetings, coffee, or hop tastings with many others. It's great to be able to so quickly feel comfortable when traveling. I've understood one of the primary reasons of chains like Starbucks or Subway is to be familiar to travelers as they find themselves in otherwise unknown locales.

One goal of local search of user-generated is to give outsiders a view into the local life. However, they haven't yet been able to breach the feeling of familiarity and reward that comes with visiting an old favorite restaurant or brew.

While our plans are still undecided for the future - it's a great comfort to know I can stop into a great town like Ann Arbor and feel so welcome.


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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.