The Where 2.0 event is stock full of all kinds of talk about mapping technologies, research, and interesting tales of map development. This time I’m just going to write about highlights:
Air Force Plea for Help – an intelligence officer from the US Air Force described some of their challenges to incorporate the rapidly advancing mapping technologies into the military. He made an impassioned plea to the developers at the conference to offer their services to the organizations like his who desperately need more modern integrated solutions. He said he would be available throughout the day to talk to developers. It must have worked because I heard many people asking where to find him throughout the day.
Google Maps Announcements – Googlers Lior Ron and Steve Lee did the Google Keynote. Lior started by showing the rapid pace of growth of both map data and features for the Google Maps platform. He had some great animations showing how people have contributed to create maps of countries all over the world using Map Maker. He also described the new capabilities allowing people to edit map details in Google Maps (which was later mocked by one of the other presenters because of its complexity). And he went on to show Google My Maps, and Google Latitude and the upcoming built-in location feature of Firefox 3.5. Google announced two main things: Google Maps Data API, and Google Adsense Ad Unit for Maps (see my comments on this in my post on monetizing your maps).
Live Lidar – The guys from Velodyne had a live spinning Lidar unit in the conference hall. This definitely was the biggest crowd-pleaser. Their technology derived from doing the Darpa Challenge – the contest for autonomous cars driving over the desert. Apparently their technology was used by most of the contestants. Since then, one company has been using the technology to help DOT organizations map roads in an amazingly useful way. But, the biggest hit was when they turned it on and mapped the audience live in 3D. They even had us do a crowd “wave” which was captured in a video. Hope to add a link here of the resulting video. Very cool!
Mobile Augmented Reality – There was a cool panel session on using the mobile platform to offer augmented reality. I think this already happening with maps and Street View. But, these guys were talking about some pretty cool stuff with annotations on Street View like views as you walk down the street. The iPhone Google Earth could do a lot of this if Google would start enabling other layers to be shown. Haven’t heard any rumors about this yet, but I figure its been nearly a year since iPhone GE came out…
There was a lot more going on throughout the day. But, I’ll leave it to other bloggers to fill in the gaps in my summary. I had some cool discussions with the guys from 360Cities.net, spoke to someone from Gigapan (who I hope to use for the Tahina Expedition), and met lots of interesting folks throughout the day. Had some good feedback on the workshop, and lots of people asking questions about the sailing trip. So, I really enjoyed the day!
I guess this is a not-so-short summary.