October 6, 2006

a convivial bunch of geowankers

Last night we held what will undoubtedly be looked back on as the first international geowanking conference (iWank1?). Okay, so it was basically a dozen or so interesting folks from the geowanking mailing list hanging out and talking, but still.

Rich Gibson led a freewheeling discussion that wandered from probabilistic definition of socially constructed locations (e.g., where is SoMA?), through Plato's Forms, to geospam. Rich raised an interesting question of whether there is a "right of representation"; for example, if some random actor creates a sketchup model of your home and geolocates it on Google Earth, do you have any rights in or control over that representation? I think this is one of a class of related issues that arise from physical+virtual intertwingling, that we will be wrestling with in the next few decades, a bit like the domain name squatting/trademark issue that we saw in the early days of the web.

Mike Liebhold (IFTF, starhill) wants his personal tricorder with seamless access across many data sets, but sees many barriers standing in the way. For example, he talked about the US government's Geospatial One Stop, a vast public repository of maps and geodata, how the contract to operate it had gone to ESRI, and how that decision led to the data being technically much less accessible to use by external services. Mike feels there is a fundamental tension between traditional GIS people for whom accuracy is the prime directive, and many geoweb people who are motivated by ubiquity of access and use of geodata. He also pointed to the significant increase in large corporations' interest in GIS and geodata, which might be a sign that this little corner of happy geohacking was soon to become a lot more crowded and commercial.

Greg Sadetsky has postage and pix.

Gratitudinality to Ian Smith White and friends at Urban Mapping for organizing and hosting. Simply wonderful, guys. (But doh, better get your host's name right Gene. Thanks Greg, the power of socially constructed knowledge triumphs again ;-)

Posted by Gene at October 6, 2006 12:37 PM | TrackBack


Thanks for the linking. The event was a blast!

Urbanus Carta's CEO's (Ian's) last name is actually White.


Posted by: Greg Sadetsky at October 6, 2006 6:22 PM
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