Saturday, October 18, 2008

The GeoWeb -Trends and benefits

The concept of the GeoWeb, a short form for Geospatial Web, has really exploded into the consciousness of many Internet users who find that they can not only "find" interesting information and photos for places all over the world on 2D and 3D maps, they can also easily "contribute" their own locations and detailed data and information about places they know and care about.

While I have been posting to this Blog I have come to believe that the trends and benefits that are accruing from GeoWeb activities will result in a logically standard Geo-Search interface to the growing body of knowledge available on the Internet. In future posts I will try to clarify what I am learning about this exciting process.

For example, recently I saw a reference to a new O'Reilly Report entitled: "Radar Report on Where 2.0: The State of the Geospatial Web." Brady Forrest and Andrew Turner, two of the authors have posted blog information describing the report. The link to the report on Brady Forrest's post provides a readable Scribd file for the first 15 of the 55 page report. (The full report is available from O'Reilly Radar Reports for $399.)

Andrew Turner is also scheduled to present a free live "O'Reilly Webcast on Friday October 24, 10 AM PDT. Titled "Trends and Technologies in Where 2.0," this O'Reilly web page provides an online Registration Form and more descriptive information.

I was reminded to look at the Radar Report again a few days ago by an IBM blog post by Rob Wunderlich who wrote this additional brief summary:

"The main point of the report is the unexpected benefits of the Web 2.0 phenomonen is the staggering amount of geographic data that has become available and freely disseminated. We're all familiar with some of the sites: Google Maps, MapQuest and WikiMapia, to name a couple examples. But this report digs far deeper into what they call the "GeoWeb" - and they mention sites like GeoEye and DigitalGlobe."

Below is a brief summary of the report provided by Brady Forrest:

"In the 55 page report we examine:
  • How Web 2.0 is empowering millions to publish and contribute geocontent to open services
  • How both community and public geodata are becoming available and freely disseminated
  • How mobile devices (like the iPhone and soon via Android) are becoming location-aware and leading to new privacy and data access concerns.
  • Open formats are leading the way for open data
  • How the net has caused the rise of immersive imagery and the use of
  • How crowdsourcing is being used to build up mapping data and imagery
  • How location-based gaming platforms are on the rise, but are still looking for the category-killing game"
As I noted in my blog post on September 1, 08, there are several related Web initiatives that are creating opportunities for more citizens to become involved in environmental and ecological issues. The way the GeoWeb is developing seems to me to embrace all of these and will provide opportunities for more logical decision making as we move forward in time.

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