Today FortiusOne announced its acquisition of Mapufacture, the web’s original geo-feed aggregator. FortiusOne is the creator of GeoCommons, a geo-data repository with analysis tools (Radar post). This acquisition brings Fortiusone both talent and the technology to handle third-party feeds.
At its core Mapufacture is a map making tool. Users can create maps by combining feeds or their own geo data sets. If you’re not sure where to find a geofeed check out Platial, Flickr, Yahoo! Pipes or any hosted KML file. The maps can be embedded on third-party sites. Mapufacture also provides timeline tools so that you can see how your data changes over time.
GeoCommons first launched at Where 2.0 in 2007. Later that year it went offline for a complete redesign. The company has slowly been releasing pieces of it back out. The first major component out the door is Finder! Finder! lets you search for datasets, bookmark them to your account and download them as KML, ShapeFile or a spreadsheet. You can find datasets of almost any type including some about employment, universities, or the internet.
Mapufacture will eventually be merged into GeoCommons; it will become Maker, a portion of GeoCommons that will let you make and share maps. This will complete the relaunch of GeoCommons major features.
The importance of geodata often goes unnoticed by people who don’t work with it everyday. Until mashups and Google Earth I doubt many people ever gave geodata a second thought. I hope that GeoCommons continues to bridge that gap. GeoCommons is going to provide us with easy-to-use, web-based tools that allow for powerful analysis and a repository of geodata in open formats. Hopefully their tools and data will not go unnoticed.