Jun 16

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

More Favorites from Where 2.0

Chris Spurgeon of American Public Media gave a fabulous talk at Where 2.0 entitled The Best Geo Hacks of the Last 3000 Years. He covered Eratosthenes' estimate of the size of the earth (accurate within 15%), the use of the moons of Jupiter as an astronomical clock for use in earthly navigation, the way the master navigators of Polynesia used ocean currents as their guides, the development of the abstract London Subway Map, among others. His talk was a wonderful reminder of human ingenuity, and how what we call "the hacker impulse" has always been with us, always at the frontier of knowledge. And for those of you who weren't there to see the talk, he put together reading list for historical geo hacks.

I also really enjoyed the talk by Claus Dahl of Imity. Claus talked about why we should be talking about "here 2.0", not "where 2.0", and emphasized the difference between an abstract location in space, and the unique locus of space and time that makes places matter. He drove home the point that space is not place with two photos of the conference: one an auditorium of empty chairs and the other full of rapt listeners. Imity is all about applications for (prox)imity -- what's happening nearby in the here and now.

Gary Lang of Autodesk made clear in his talk just how heavily Autodesk has committed itself to an open source strategy as the key to competitive advantage in the mapping space. Gary pointed out how open source will allow for interoperability, letting people build new data layers on platforms like Google Earth without being locked in. There were many other fascinating talks about the intersection of mapping and open source at the conference, but Gary's stuck out for me because of Autodesk's importance in building mapping tools. An open source commitment from Autodesk is a significant event for the industry.

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