Where2.0 - The Big Guys

ESRI, one of the big names in GIS, presented some of their open services (as they were wont to use the word). These are many web tools for obtaining, viewing, and manipulating geographic data and were very impressive.

The first was an SVG Map Viewer, which is a really cool utility for viewing maps in a browser. By using SVG, it can quickly reorganize the actual data such as changing map projection on the fly. You can also reorient, add/remove layers and other cool stuff.

The second was National Geographic's map machine where you can investigate various layers of science and climatological data.

The next presentation was by a company Inrix, which showed off some of the new technologies and techniques in traffic monitoring, traffic history, and traffic prediction. So their system would show you the current congestions, as well as the predicted future conditions based on historical conditions and also planned events (sports, concerts, etc.)

They're using the "Inrix Dust Network", which consists of sensored delivery trucks, service vehicles, and toll pass devices. Therefore they're constantly, almostly for free, gathering large sets of data.

Of course, not all these sensors and such are good. By use of toll sensors, they will know where you are. Now is the time to start putting in place and defining geo-privacy standards.

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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.