Social Data Face-Off

A Panel Discussion

Where 2006
43 minutes, 20mb, recorded 2006-06-13
Torkington, Eisnor, Nolan, Peterson

The web has redefined the word "community." In some ways it has made a user's physical location irrelevant. Recently, however, a fascination with physical place has engendered a new crop of applications aimed at helping users and social networks to map themselves on the web. These apps lets users identify and annotate places, see where their friends are, and link physical locations with other web-based information and technologies.

Creating effective pushpin apps comes with both challenges and possibilities and in this session Nathan Torkington of O'Reilly Media, Di-Ann Eisnor of Platial, Ben Nolan of, and Josh Petersen of field questions about avoiding map spam, encouraging users to contribute effectively, handling corrections and disputes, and addressing interoperability.

This panel of platform creators discusses nuts and bolts issues, such as business models and intellectual property considerations, involved with developing and and using apps that are fundamentally about geodata. They also delve into the positive creative effects of these new avenues for geospatial expression. These apps let our passion for place create new ways for us to learn about each other, ourselves, and share stories about our lives.

Nathan Torkington is an editor and conference planner for O'Reilly Media. By night, he's the project manager for Perl 6, a banjo player, husband, and father. In his spare time, he wonders where the rest of his spare time went.

Di-Ann Eisnor is the co-founder and CEO of Platial. Her maps include Particle Accelerators, 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, Emiko's map, NY Street Food, Autobiogeography, Life In Amsterdam, Important Protests, and Portland's Zen Fix. Eisnor speaks on grassroots marketing and pervasive gaming. She has been featured in Fast Company, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, AdWeek, Bloomberg Television, PBS, and CNN. She has been on the covers of Fortune Small Business and Working Woman Magazine.

Ben Nolan is the director of Projectx Technology, a New Zealand startup building a community mapping site called He is the author of the Behaviour JavaScript library, Biscuit php framework, and Prior to forming Projectx Technology in 2005, Nolan worked for various startups in Australia, New Zealand, and Vancouver, BC.

Josh Petersen is CEO and co-founder of The Robot Co-op, makers of the popular and award-winning social web sites and From 1996-2001 he worked at as co-founder and director of's personalization and recommendations team, and from 2002-2004 he worked at Microsoft on personalized news and local search projects.

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