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.
By the way, lost in the debate, Android phones do the same thing, and actually send the data back to Google every few hours. Would you be happy to share all your movements with Apple or Google?
So what will the location industry bring us over the next 12 months?
At an enterprise level, the launch of Google Earth Builder (available Q3 2011) will be most disruptive to the GIS industry. Remember how for the last 10-15 odd years, the GIS community has been attempting to put geospatial data online, make it discoverable and have it displayed quickly and easily? Despite some good technology and in some cases (e.g. INSPIRE) lots of money, none of these attempts really took off (why not, is something worthy of another post, or even a book or two).
Google Earth Builder will solve that problem. It allows anyone to publish and share spatial data: points of interest, vectors and imagery. And everything is automatically indexed so it’s searchable (indeed: no ISO Metadata required!), automatically georeferenced, reprojected and (voila) displayed in Google Earth or Maps. Oh, and it sits on Google's cloud: so no storage, scaling or performance headaches anymore.
Interesting little fact is that one of its first (beta) users is Australia's own Ergon Energy.
Among the many other amazing technology launches, the one that stood out for me was http://uscapeit.com/. Believe it or not: this app allows you to generate immersive, 3D panoramas, straight from your iPhone. In minutes. For free. For real. Try it!
There were too many other great talks, announcements and launches to mention now. But you can see the slides and videos here.