Yesterday was the first day at O’Reilly’s Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, California. This is my fourth year of attending Where 2.0, and I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to see interesting mapping related technologies, and meet people from around the world interested in this exciting fast-developing field. O’Reilly runs a fun conference for techies with lots of innovative conference extras such as tech fairs, free public fast-paced tech talks (called Ignite), and open to all kinds of techie speakers (not just big companies).
The first day was dedicated to workshops. They actually expanded the number of workshops compared to previous years. The workshops are longer sessions (1 hour and 15 minutes), and are intended to be more interactive discussions. There were actually four parallel workshops sessions, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend but a few. Not only that, but I was running a workshop on “Extending Google Earth“.
The goal of my workshop was to try and raise awareness of the multitude of ways you can leverage Google Earth to create more sophisticated content or visualizations. I focused on three main areas: more sophisticated KML, the Google Earth API, and the new GE Tours mode. I also managed to slip in some talk about my upcoming 5-year sailing circumnavigation – the Tahina Expedition – and how I’ll be using Google Earth on the trip. Naturally I talked about many great examples of extending Google Earth which have appeared in GEB over the years. But, I was most excited to demonstrate the new Ships simulator by Paul van Dinther which I posted about on Monday. This Ships sim has been a hit in the blogosphere, and the audience enjoyed seeing it in the workshop. There were lots of questions in the workshop, and I have to thank Googler Mano Marks who helped back me up on some of the trickier Google-related questions.
I attended a few other Workshops including:
- Google Maps workshop which highlighted two case studies of a weather data mapping tool called iMapWeather and the Trulia real estate site’s use of Maps. I love weather maps, so I enjoyed that And, I’m selling our house soon, so the Trulia presentation gave me some ideas on how to better promote our house.
- Workshop on Cartography Design by Cartifact’s Bruce Daniels. He had a great talk on the design of online maps. This was more about the aesthetics and design of maps as opposed to technological implementation. Richard Treve’s would have enjoyed that one. Cartifact also upgraded their own public experiment with online maps to 1.1. They have that cool “map lens” gadget I mentioned before.
- KML Techniques Everyone Should Know – the last workshop I attended was by Mano Marks of Google. This session covered some great subjects on creating better Google Earth content (and was a natural follow-up to my workshop – which I should have pointed out). It covered regioning, network links, Tours, dynamic KML, and more.
After the workshops, and a quick dinner with Googler Ed Parsons, we attended the Ignite sessions. Brady Forrest runs these great public speaking events where techies get only five minutes to give a talk or demo something. Their presentations slides automatically advance every few seconds, so you have to talk fast or be very succinct.
Some notables from last night’s Ignite:
- Waze – an effort to leverage location-aware mobile phones, crowd-sourced mapping, and mapping technologies to both map a city and get live updates on traffic conditions. In return, participants get re-routing advice in real-time around bad traffic areas. Currently in Alpha in Israel only.
- TwitterVision update – David Troy – the inventor of TwitterVision, was on hand to discuss his project last fall to leverage his concepts to build an election monitoring process. They monitored crowd experiences with voting and were able to give real-time, and post-analysis of voting conditions around the US. They had open-sourced projects that even produced an iPhone app which let folks make audio annotations of their experiences. The resulting data is now part of the Library of Congress. I spoke to David afterwards and suggested he should look into the GE API for some of his future work – he was receptive.
- Joker Racer – Probably the night’s biggest hit. Two guys from Japan came to show their really cool idea. They have a web site – under development – giving tips on how to build your own remote controlled car which is essentially a mobile Linux web server with a WIFI interface to the Internet. You can control the car over the web or with an iPhone application. The cars have built-in video too, so you can watch the cars. See video example.
That’s all for now folks!