A full day at Where 2.0 this time, and lots of interesting things went on. Here are some things I took note of:
- SRC has released some very powerful business intelligence datasets to the public with support for almost all the major mapping APIs. See more about it at https://freedemographics.com/. Unfortunately, they are missing one of the most important APIs: KML (i.e. for Google Earth). They did a very good PR stunt during heir presentation at Where 2.0 – at the beginning of the talk they they put up a 15 minute countdown and said they would get $500 to the first developer in the audience to grab their mapping mashup interface and implement an example map with their data. Someone completed the task in 7 minutes and received a $500 check at the end of the talk. The demo of available demographic data from the free site is impressive. They also have this site: https://www.demographicsnow.com/
- NASA World Wind put on a very impressive demonstration of their 3D browser, and it was a real crowd pleaser. They certainly have been very busy adding to, and improving, the application. They use the Blue Marble satellite photos, and real-time global cloudes for their high level views, which is something you can do with GE as well (Google should build this in by default). I was very impressed with the look and feel of the client, and especially liked the plug-ins for showing 3D Mars, 3D moon, and some deep sky stellar objects. During the Q&A they were asked about Celestia and indicated they would love to be “marry” Celestia with World Wind. Maybe NASA will start offering all the features in the commercial versions of GE soon and start competing with Google? I have to say the NASA World Wind web site is very professional. I’ve seen commercial software products which had worse-looking web sites.
More presentations covered below.
- There’s an organization called OSSIM.org (Open Source Software Image Map ) which apparently has some “Awesome Image Processing” tools. “OSSIM provides advanced geo-spatial image processing for remote sensing, photogrammetry, and Geographic Information Systems” – for free. The demo and the web site are pretty impressive. Maybe Google should look at this stuff to normalize and enhance the aerial/satellite photos they get from their data providers.
- Yahoo gave a presentation about Yahoo Local. I only took a couple of things away from this: they will have some new stuff in the next couple of months (no details given), and they now have a new blog to tell people about their activities (no URL given out). Kind of disapointing – although Microsoft didn’t announce anything, they at least showed their major new features implemented only two weeks ago.
- I was told by someone at Where 2.0 that Microsoft’s Virtual Earth team is on a 100 day upgrade cycle. So, the next major release for VE would be sometime in late Septemeber.
- ESRI’s Jack Dangermond came up and spoke about his vision for the GIS/mapping future. As usual, he seems to have a good handle on the future of GIS. He had a couple of his people come up and demonstrate a number of things showing how ArcGIS GIS visualizations can be exported out to various mapping tools. Even a weird (why?) demo of sharing ArcGIS stuff via chat. Incidentally, Jack said ArcGIS 9.2, due out in September, will support some of the new features in KML 2.1, and in addition they will support the Virtual Earth markup languange(? – or whatever they will have for their API). Jack indicated they see themselves as mapping and virtual globe agnostic (meaning they will support any mapping or Geobrowser/virtual globe of note I guess). What I found most interesting was they didn’t seem to mention, and did not demonstrate, ArcGIS explorer. But, they did run out of time before they were done. But, I expected ArcGIS Explorer would be up front and center. Will ArcGIS Explorer still be released?
- After the conference ended, Yahoo hosted a nice social hour with open bar and some food and music. I got to talk some more to the Tagzania guys, Panoramio’s Eduardo Manchón, Brady Forrest (Co-chair of Where 2.0 and Chairman for next year), and quite a few other people with lesser degrees of Google Earth interest. Unfortunately, I missed meeting Tim O’Reilly, but I did watch him moderate a good panel session. He seems like a great guy.
- While at the Yahoo bash, I also had an interesting conversation with Mikel Maron, who is spearheading the GeoRSS development. We talked about GeoRSS and Google Earth’s KML and his desire to see Google do more with GeoRSS. I suggested it might be better to get Google to make KML an open standard and implement elements of the still developing GeoRSS to make it easier for RSS folks to georeference. We both agreed that given the huge amount of competition between the big three (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google), it will be challenging to get everyone to agree.
- Where 2.0 was a well-attended, and very well-run conference. If you are in the web 2.0 mapping business, and the virtual globe business, I think this is probably one of the best conferences, if not the best, to attend.
About Frank Taylor
Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.