About Me

My photo

Working on Spatial Data quality and pragmatic enterprise solutions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How many Spatial Information organisations in Australia?

This question was posed on Twitter by @WALISForum, at the beginning of day 2 of the ISDE7 conference in Perth.

This got me thinking. My initial reaction was: "Way too many". But how better to actually find out, than by crowdsourcing the answer to this question.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rockstars, Google goes SDI, and DIY Panoramas

Wrap-up of Where 2.0, 19-21 April 2011

After Tuesday's workshops, Where 2.0 really kicked off of Wednesday. Two things immediately became apparent. Firstly: some of these young entrepreneurs are revered as rock stars. The only thing missing in the opening interview with Foursquare's CEO Dennis Crowley were the screaming teenagers.

Secondly, every self-respecting LBS product company uses the conference for a product launch. Thus we saw exciting new products & capabilities from established players like Microsoft, Nokia, ESRI and Google, and about a million start-ups.

And of course, this was the conference where the iPhone tracking 'scandal' was revealed. If you've been living under a pebble: unbeknown to most of us, iPhones and iPads track and store your location, unencrypted. It’s very easy for others (employers, suspicious partners) to read this.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where 2.0 - Summary of Day 1

For the second consecutive year, I am attending O' Reilly's 7th Where 2.0 Conference in California. As I mentioned last year, this conference is a geo-Geek Walhalla. This is where you meet all the big mobile and neo-geography players, and learn about the 'next big thing' (see also 'sites of the day' below).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bushfire Connect - Trust, Transparency & Timeliness

Today I presented Bushfire Connect to the 'Innovative Emergency Management' conference in Sydney. During this two-day conference, several speakers brought up issues around community resilience, the changing behavioural and technological context for Emergency Managers and the need for communities to self-organise in the face of more frequent and more extreme natural disasters.

All this was a perfect lead-in for Bushfire Connect. As the slides show (see below), I was able to segue in with a quote from an earlier speaker Craig Lapsley, Victorian Fire Services Commissioner, who said that "there is a need for change", and "...empower communities with Timely, Relevant and Tailored information".

Bushfire Connect does exactly that: collecting and sharing timely and relevant information, and delivering tailored alerts to the community.

It was very encouraging to find fertile ground among the audience consisting largely of hard-core Emergency Managers. Positive experiences, questions and suggestions from the room. Would we have seen the same response 12 months ago?

Who knows. One thing is for sure, with every disaster, from Queensland to Christchurch and Japan, the role of Social media is increasing and becoming more and more sophisticated.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Atlas of NSW a Pleasant Surprise

Last month, the NSW government launched its online Atlas (in Beta). Developed under the radar, it would have taken many by surprise. And surprise me it did. Not in the least because government mapping sites, especially in NSW, need to be viewed with a healthy dose of suspicion. With a few exceptions, we have over the years been underwhelmed with clunky, slow, unusable and unmaintained mapping initiatives that – if they are still around – are gathering dust, rather than servicing taxpayers.

So I had a look at the NSW Atlas with some trepidation and maybe a little sense of impending doom. However, I was pleasantly surprised with that I saw, though there are a few concerns.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sydney Geo-events in March and April

You can be forgiven for thinking that of all the state capitals, Sydney is the sleepy hollow of GIS location innovation and associated events. For a while, Sydney had Ignite Spatial, but that quietly went away, as did the SSI Young Spatial Professionals events.

However, for some reason the planets seem to align this March and April and there are a raft of interesting (and  informal) geo-events on the agenda:


Not bad huh?  I will be at the inaugural GeoRabble event on the 16th, which promises to be something new, fun and exciting.

See you there!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bushfire Connect goes ‘live’


After more than 6 months of preparations, today saw the first ‘live’ action of http://bushfireconnect.org, a not-for-profit website to report and share (hyper-) local news and updates on bushfires in Australia.

Driven fully by volunteers, Bushfire Connect (BFC) integrates citizen reporting with official agency information, and allows anyone to subscribe to receive customised alerts via email or SMS.

It was great to see that despite BFC being spawned in Victoria, West Australians picked up on its potential and started reporting on the devastating fires raging around Perth at the moment. Traffic to the site is peaking attracting hundreds of unique visitors on its first day in action. The servers are coping admirably so far.

I must say I feel really pumped to get to this point, having worked with a really great bunch of volunteers who all donated lots of their spare time for this cause. The team page on our blog is unfortunately not up to date, so I hereby extend my deep gratitude to all of you:
  •           Daniela Fernandez (Sydney)
  •           Keren Flavell (Melbourne)
  •           Serene Ho (Melbourne)
  •           Anthony Joseph (Sydney)
  •           Darren Mottolini (joining us today from Perth to moderate WA reports)
  •           Vicky Pinpin-Feinstein (Sydney)
  •           Martin Tomko (Zurich & Melbourne)

And lastly to Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier for bringing the original team together back in May 2010, and being there for lots of advice.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Australian Floods - Overview of online (mapping) resources

[Last updated 14 Jan 2011, 3:40 PM AEDST]

Source: smh.com.au 
There is an abundance of information and mapping resources springing up online to deal with the
ongoing Australian floods.

I have compiled an overview of online resources that can assist the affected communities in dealing with this disaster while it happens, and in the aftermath.


As resources will come and go, this will be a bit of a moving feast, but with your help, I will try & keep it as current and accurate as possible.

If you have any suggestions or links to be added, please comment below, or send me a tweet (@mvandervlugt) or email (mauritsrutger -at- gmail.com).

And please share these pages with others!

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Vision on "SDI 2.0"

    At last November's annual conference of the CRC for Spatial Information, I presented a vision on "SDI 2.0", or what Spatial Data Infrastructures will look like in the 21st Century.

    There will be a shift from SDI 1.0: top-down, supply driven, slow and expensive initiatives, that mainly generate a flurry of (user-less?) YAPs (Yet Another Portal), to SDI 2.0, which is demand driven, mobile, crowd-sourced, cheap and immediate. In SDI 2.0, the default 'authoritative source' is no longer assumed to be a government department or large commercial provider.

    SDI 2.0 will harness the forces of Web 2.0 and neo-geography, where there is less and less distinction between users and consumers of geodata. There will be a long tail of many producers of little amounts of data and small applications and mash-ups. This dramatically shifts the demands on government, industry and data providers, who ignore these trends at their peril.

    You can watch the slides below, or download them here.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    PSMA, Sensis or OpenStreetMap: what makes Spatial Data “Authoritative”?

    You are probably aware that recently in Australia, Google switched map data providers. They ditched the government owned data provider PSMA in favour of Sensis' Whereis, and this data will (at least in part) be maintained by users themselves.

    The switch has created a bit of a stir in the Australian spatial information community. Our industry association (SIBA) sent out a stern word of warning about authoritative data and the risks of dealing with User Generated Content (UGC).