SXSW Day One – Mapping, Where the F#*% are we now?

OK, so by the end of day one both of my laptop batteries are dead, my own internal battery is pretty low as well, I’m crashing as the caffeine from the several lattes I’ve had throughout the day starts to wane, and I headed to the mapping panel: Mapping, Where the F#*% Are We?

The panel was moderated by Rev Dan Catt (Flickr, Geobloggers), and included:

[In addition to, or perhaps even in place of, my notes, you should read this transcript of the session by Mark Wallace]

Aaron Cope – Starts with a quote from Copeland on “what does geography mean to us.” I don’t care where starbucks is, but I want to know when I am in a place what came there before me.

Sense of place – places have personalities. These days, “ambient intimacy” – places feel different.

Where is mapping today on small computing devices? There’s the idea
that the mobile phone is something other than a really small computer
with an internet connection. The carriers want to control the
experience – all your experience are belong to us.

Aaron – medium term, *nix will rule mobile. OLPC, OS X, Maemo, Open
Moko, Symbia* (people there will tell you they are moving to linux).

Medium term: learn python.

Python is not java. GIS, DBUS (unix standard for getting things to
talk to each other), and HTTP.

Long term – learn JavaScript (again).

Track-logs, Barcodes, GPS broadcasting, machine tags and magic words

Tom Carden – where does that leave us? – Basically they are using GPS – everywhere the couriers went. Creates a street map which is the property of the community, not a commercial company.

The GPS reciever which shows him going back and forth to the moon
several times – you have to be very careful about what data you accept
that comes from the the GPS device.

Creative Commons licensed, community generated map of central london – many many enthusiastic mappers and residents of central london.

Most tourist areas have been filled in but not 100% coverage.

Street maps of other cities as well, including Bagdad.

Mapstraction – platform to abstract away from particular implementation.

Love his summary slide:

Mapping hard
Tools obscure
Getting better

Stamen hiring
San Francisco wonderful

Jerry Paffendorf showed the possibilities of a mixture of virtual worlds like second life with “real” terrain maps like Googe Earth. What will it mean to bring the two together, and enable virtual tourism, virtual collaboration, across state borders?

Ian White talked about Awareness, Embeddedness, Aloneness – how various hardware and software (data sets, devices) can make us aware of what’s around us, can embed us in social situations, and can encourage connectivity – enhancing our relationship to the physical and social environment through data.