Where 2.0 – Ignite and Launchpad

Where 2.0 LogoMonday evening the Where 2.0 held a series of presentations to help generate enthusiasm for the conference which really starts today. They had a series of speakers who had 5 minutes to either launch a new product (Launchpad), or give a 5 minute presentation with presentation slides which automatically turn to guarantee only 5 minutes. This was a fast way to learn about new mapping-related things coming, or to get introduced to companies/individuals with interesting information to share.
Ignite presentationsThere were nearly 20 presentations, so I’m not going to try and summarize every presentation. Notice in the photo there was a good turnout. A lot of interesting information conveyed in a short time. I will highlight a few I thought were interesting or who had Google Earth related things, but won’t go into a lot of detail on each. Keep reading below for the summaries.

  • GeoCommons was launched by Fortius One. See the post I did on these guys last week. They have the ability to show heat maps based on a variety creative commons data sources in Google Maps and GE.

  • National Geographic Meta Lens – National Geographic magazine has vast archives of geographic data and maps after 100 years of sharing information through their publications. They have developed software for melding their photography with maps in the form of software they use internally, and plan to offer this software to other enterprises with similar data.

  • hipoqih – This bizarrely named web site lets you use wireless GPS and PDA/phone technology to share your location and/or follow people on a map. They appear to just use Google Maps and can update positions every 5 seconds. My question: Why not a Google Earth tracking option? In ability to monetize with ads?

  • 30proof.com – These guys (two brothers named Sam and Jesse Evans) are making a business out of developing KML applications for Google Earth for people who need to share their data visualizations. Probably the most publicized example they are releasing here at Where is the Wild Sanctuary application which will be enabling you to listen to sounds of the planet in Google Earth. I’m eagerly waiting to see the new sound implementation. I managed to meet Bernie Krause after the presentation, who has spent 40 years professionally collecting this unique sound database. See my earlier post about this.

  • Urban Reality – There was an interesting presentation by someone from SAIC showing street-level mapping being performed with a car using LIDAR, cameras, and other techonologies. This is the same hardware technology as used in the Stanford University robotic car which won the DARPA Grand Challenge. Google will be making an announcement this week that they are licensing some of this hardware and the software Stanford has created to capture and create 3D buildings in cities more rapidly.

  • TwitterVision – David Troy has been generating a lot of press because of his compelling applications which show real-time data both from Twitter and Flickr. He gave his presentation using a special version of TwitterVision which brought up his presentation slides in the form of bubbles inside his mapping mashup every 8 seconds. He says: “When matters; and so does where.” And he says these two aspects can create compelling applications. Given the popularity of many Google Earth applications with the time slider, I can attest that this is true. David’s presentation was ranked the most popular during the first half of the talks.

  • Swivel – The makers of Swivel have a web site which has been focused on liberating data by making it easy to create graphs on their web site. They launched a new visualization tool enabling you to visualize the data on maps when it makes sense. Similar in some ways to GeoCommons. I will report more on how they differ as I learn more during the conference. They also support both Google Maps and Google Earth.

  • Dopplr.com – Still in beta – this is a new social networking / web 2.0 web site focused on providing a way for people to share their trips. A slight distinction from showing just your location. You can follow the planned trips your friends are making and see when it would be possible for you to meet. They generate maps showing from/to trip segments. They also have been developing an API to let people tap into public trip information. Someone has already developed a Google Earth tool to visualize trips using the API.

  • upnext.com – Also still in beta – this web site was presened by Danny Moon. I’m highlighting this one because they have developed a custom Java plug-in for visualizing New York City in 3D in a very Google Earth-like fashion. They have a large percentage of the buildings modeled in a artistic style which looked quite good. Their web site is focused on building real-world social network by tying event information (festivals, parades, parties, whatever) to location on a map. Allowing you to hook up with friends or make new acquaintances. They also showed off that they have real-time lighting including sunrises and sunsets in their app. Definitely worth a look after they come out of beta.

  • Tagzania – Luistxo Fernandez – one of the founders of Tagzania gave a quite amusing presentation about how Tagzania works using the tags folksonomy to share information about places. Luistxo’s company CodeSyntax is based in the Basque country of northern Spain and he shared some humorous thoughts about why this may have enabled them to create such a unique and useful application. They have now added the ability to upload routes using GPX files, and are even exploring applications with Twitter. I’m a big fan of Tagzania because of their smart Google Maps mashups and thorough support of Google Earth.

  • Tornado Chasing – Perry Samson is a professor at the University of Michigan who among other things is a tornado chaser. He shared some tools he is using in his classes which use maps to visualize tornado history, positions, and weather. I posted about this back in early April because they have GE output. He also showed a cool application for tracking where the air we breathe came from in the last few hours – check out sharedair.com and he has developed some lecturing tools he uses in his classes at lecturetools.org

That’s all the time I have right now…now it’s time to go attend Where 2.0 where I will be observing and reporting on other announcements or more details on the things seen here.

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.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. GeoSyndicate says

    I attended the ignite event and saw some pretty interesting things. Geocommons and SAIC were pretty impressive to see. Although only in NY so far, Upnext definitely wow’d me and can’t wait to see it progress.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.