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Working on Spatial Data quality and pragmatic enterprise solutions.

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).

Of course, the conference is super-connected and hi-tech. Free wi-fi everywhere, under-seat powerpoints and live video streams that are also archived.
This leads to some amazing multi-tasking. I saw the guy next to me write his report of an acquisition announcement as it happened, and publishing it as soon as it was done!

Day one was the pre-conference workshop  day, with workshops on a range of topics, including  the Twitter Geo-stream, Map Scripting, HTML5 and Google Fusion Tables.

As a non-technical geo-geek (is there such a beast?), I was most interested by the session on Location-based Privacy, run by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Though it might sound a little dull and boring (it was run by lawyers after all), I found it very enlightening.
In very articulate, plain English, the speakers highlighted:
  • You need to care about privacy as a developer/custodian, because your user do;
  • Most privacy laws precede modern location based services, and are therefore outdated;
  • Most of us are not aware what sites may do with our private data; and
  • There are a lot of examples of bad and good practice.

To help with the latter, the ACLU provides a 'comparison chart' of location-based privacy issues for 5 Social Media sites, including Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter here.

Sites of the day

Of all the new sites and apps that were shown today, two stand out for me:

  1. http://geoloqi.com/  If you’re now (rightly) more worried about privacy, Geoloci enables private & secure location sharing within your network, and more.
  2. http://www.localmind.com/  - A service that lets you find out what's happening at a certain place, by asking people who are checked-in at that specific location

More cool sites and links tomorrow, including the launch of Google Earth Builder and how to record 3D streetscapes with your iPhone. Watch this space...

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