What does it mean to have a deeper, more geographic understanding of our changing world? Tamarat Belayneh says the answer can be found at the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). Its missions is to organize and analyze geographic data to help land planners and resource managers make better use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The importance of such systems is increasingly recognized. ESRI's role is to train people to gather and apply GIS information in new ways.
Color has implicit cultural meanings that differ from place to place. Red, for example, may mean good luck in one place and danger in another. Noah Iliinsky, Visualization Consultant with Complex Diagrams, sits down with Julie Steele, his co-author at O'Reilly Media, to discuss the importance of good design. He explains the benefits of designing with goals in mind and knowing the target audience. He also talks about the use of size, shape and other best practices in design.
In a relaxed interview, Allan Alasdair gives us his take on geolocation today as the Where 2012 conference opens. Alasdair pursues concepts he set forth in the 2011 Where Conference that addressed Apple's iPhone sensors which now allow near-ubiquitous data sharing. He describes a new tracking system being prototyped at the University of Exeter, where data sets can shed light on how campus facilities can be used and student performance evaluated.
Has the latest iPhone changed everything? Will Google Maps lose market share to OpenStreetMap? Which social-mobile start-ups will survive? These questions set the stage as the Where 2012 conference starts to cover breakthroughs in social-mobile. Brady Forrest, the Program Chair for O'Reilly's Where 2012 conference in San Francisco, shares how he has seen location-based technology evolve. In this one-on-one interview, Forrest points to anticipated announcements from speakers at power players like Facebook and Google Earth.
Foursquare is a social networking website that has learned how to "make every check-in count for the user." It uses the social graph to build relationships between users, locations, and the people they meet. Crowley and Scoble talk about Foursquare, its new API, what it is and isn't, where it's going, and how it's different from other location-aware services such as Color or Facebook Places or Events.
Crisis Mapping in a new era of collaboration is described by Patrick Meier, the Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi. He shares the latest developments in Crisis Mapping for disaster response and illustrates applications of Where 2.0 technologies in humanitarian response and human rights. Citing various initiatives across the world, he explains how the advent of crowdsourced, geo-referenced information in social media has helped coordinate relief operations and protests.
Maps tell stories: track Japan after the tsunami or the Gulf oil spill through time. Jack Dangermond, the president of Esri, talks about and demonstrates ArcGIS.com's new cloud-based GIS computing and intelligent web maps. These two innovations are allowing end users to create their own maps using GIS software online with any device. The Esri cloud will store and share map creations online in real-time, integrating geospatial science and technology into our everyday lives.
Our "flat" world is also hyper-local. Location is becoming simultaneously more and less relevant. Julia Grace discusses why we buy some things from across the globe and others at our corner shop. Could our experience at the stores could be improved by using all the data that we generate every day paying with credit cards, checking in at Foursquare or using customer-linked cards? Could super-computers be used to sort through all the data we are generating and personalize our shopping experiences? This is an ethnographic look at shoppers today.
Last year at F8, a conference for developers in social media, Facebook announced Open Graph, a platform that enabled people to connect to objects and URI's on the Web. This year, Justin Shaffer briefs the Where 2.0 audience about how Facebook plans to enhance user experience by leveraging location and temporal data access in its new product "Facebook Places." Shaffer expounds on the technical differences in the way that "events" and "places" are handled by the new Open Graph API.
The future is not just in social media's connection to people but in "discovery:" the virtual exploration of physical spaces. This is what Dennis Crowley, founder of Foursquare, believes is the future of location applications. The check-in provides more than just the ability to see "who" is around but to see "what" is around. Dennis believes the combination of rewards, badges, tips and discovery are what make Foursquare successful.