Mapping Hacks and Geoblogs

Geospatial technologies are getting a lot of attention this summer and fall. In June Google released the Google Earth spatial data browser, and today I noticed that National Geographic are hooking into it with their stories (at the moment on Africa but undoubtedly on other places around the world soon enough).

Basically GE is the first, public realization of the digital earth manifesto with its keydescription of zooming inot the earth and clicking around for information, itself an extension of the hypertext idea going all the way back to the 1960s and Ted Nelson.

As James Fee points out above, this is significant because NG has worked with ESRI so much in the past but are now possibly turning to Google (everyone knows Google, but what's GIS?). With the ArcMap to Google Earth converters (eg., A2E) they've proved that they can sync in with established GIS software, but note that ESRI has yet to provide a Google Earth importer (but it will one day I expect). The work is going on outside ESRI and it will have to race to keep up. What is their response--where is their press release? Are they worried?

The GE file is apparently a .KML file, or keyhole markup language (Keyhole was the company Google bought out, don't know much about them, but I remember seeing their announcement earlier this year). This opens the question of the GML with its better geographic descriptors such as projections. Even if GML is better, GE has higher "value to the street" as one commentator puts it.

Example of the street paying attention: MIT Technology Review cover story (Oct. 2005).

Also during the summer the Mapping Hacks book came out.

What I've been doing is compiling a list of geoblogs, ie blogs that discuss geotagging and map hacking (basically mashups, and the idea that the world can be geotagged, where did that come from originally), plus related ideas such as the early use of mapping or spatial visualizations in hypertext/hypermedia such as the famous Aspen Moviemap [more].

There's an unclear constellation of things:

Geotagging (adding georeferenced metadata)
Geoblogging (in general blogging with spatially aware information eg thru to Flickr, also a specific website)
Flickr with lat-long of pics
"Mashups" (combination of some information source mapped on to Google Maps or MSN or similar, an aspect of mapping hacks)
Mapping hacks (editing and altering open source internet mapping capabilities to add functionality or to make information interoperable)

So does this help me think about virtual geography?

1 comment:

James Fee said...

When you have the Mapping Hacks, Mashups and Geoblogs figured out let me know. I'm still trying to figure it all out myself.