[Geowanking] Geowanking 2.0 conference
kevin at phunc.com
Tue May 3 14:08:54 PDT 2005
This was a privilege to read, thank you.
From: geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to
[mailto:geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to] On Behalf Of Allan Doyle
Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 7:08 AM
To: geowanking at lists.burri.to
Subject: Re: [Geowanking] Geowanking 2.0 conference
Mike's "I have a dream" speech is clearly going to resonate with most
people on this list. While the name of our august list might suggest
that people are primarily after cheap thrills in the geo space, I think
people are in it for far deeper and more solid reasons. Every geo hack
that is unleashed on the world provides yet another glimpse of what the
future can bring. Many of the geo hacks build on previous ones and pay
tribute to the imaginations and rantings of people on this list.
Yet in Mike's dream, there's more than hacking. Mike is talking about
getting geo things to suffuse themselves over the general IT (what a
dull term) landscape in such a way as to provide a substrate upon which
we can reach new heights. I hate to say it, but that brings yet another
dull term to mind - infrastructure.
But let's think about how to make infrastructure interesting. In the
early days of the internet, before there was an internet, things were
interesting. At least the books I read and people I've talked to
indicate this. At the same time, there was a clear sense of moving
forward in a very unified way, moving towards the fulfillment of a
dream or at least a compatible set of dreams. Sure, there were some
pretty deep incompatibilities and some tense moments (think of OSI vs.
TCP/IP) and I suspect that there were some people who thought the world
would end if their favorite protocol didn't make it, but here we are,
surfing, scripting, and blogging on the shoulders of giants.
There was a bit of a fallow period between the actual creation of the
Internet (ca. 1981, was it?) and the creation of the WWW. But was it
devoid of hacks? I don't think so. There was a lot of fun stuff to work
on and a lot of that has left a lasting legacy. Do you think the folks
at Berkeley had any idea that their beloved BSD Unix was going to
eventually sit inside every Apple computer? I doubt it. And the BSD
sockets implementation probably did more to advance the internet than
many other things. I bet that started out as a hack.
So what is different today? Nothing and everything. We have a lot of
young kids (I get to say this, I started coding in 1971) who are
neither informed by nor daunted by what has gone before. The rest of us
are beset by selective memory and see what we want to see. That
combination can either be stultifying or enlightening. It's up to us.
There are some real differences. One is that of scale. There are simply
orders of magnitude more people connected to each other today than
there were between 1969 and 1992. The other is that of trust. In
today's society, online and off, we have had to become far more wary of
each other. A third is that geo-anything is not really mainstream. The
only mainstream part of geo is the very top layer - the maps, the GPS,
the navigation systems, etc. Once you go below the UI however, you step
into what feels like a very different scene than anything I've
So what are we doing about it? What can we do? I think we either have
to cause the geo-mainstream to loosen up a little more or we have to
get the geowankers to become more "organized". Mike's dream requires
both. And both are happening. Just not on a timescale that seems to
indicate I'll still be around when it finally all "clicks". We've been
spoiled. The combination of how quickly the Web caught on, coupled with
Moore's law, sprinkled with examples like Google's ascension makes us
think that things should be able to happen overnight. We pine for the
killer-app. But is a large-scale, take-over-the-world killer-app more
likely to emerge on today's infrastructure or on tomorrow's? I'm a big
fan of serendipity. But the old adage about making your own luck is
true. The richer we can make the nutrients in the petri dish, the more
likely it is that a spectacular organism will take root and grow.
There are bright spots. Look at the number of standards implemented in
Geo FOSS. There are weak spots. Look at the fact that many countries
still think they have to sell 1:1M data rather than provide it for the
We as a community have many assets. We should continue to make use of
those assets and forge ahead. We should gaze into our navels and decide
whether we need a little more structure and then we need to be willing
to figure out how to create that structure.
On May 2, 2005, at 17:23, Mike Liebhold wrote:
> There, was, of course, no Geowanking 1.0 conference, and, as far as I
> know, no Geowanking 2.0 conference planned. And amazingly,
> "Geowankers" are the only group specifically -excluded by name- from
> invitations to a very high visibility upcoming geo-newbie 2.0 (errr,
> 1.0) conference. ( by the way, aside from reading this listserv, does
> anyone here really consider themselves a 'wanker'?)
There are conferences that come close
FOSS4G - http://www.foss4g.org/FOSS4G/
OSGIS/MUM - http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/mum/mtg2005.html
O'Reilly ETCON 2004 had a geo track -
EOGEO started in 1996 - http://www.eogeo.org/Workshops/
PPGIS (coming up) - http://www.iapad.org/pgis2005/
> So here, in that spirit, is the outline of talk that I was invited
> -not- to deliver at the above mentioned geo-newbie 1.0 conference:
> * * * * * *
> Title: what we still need to build an insanely cool open geospatial
> Rationale for this talk: the first generation internet/web generated
> a huge amount of economic energy, and so will a geospatial web and so
> needs the same high level of - early - informed fiancial support from
> forward thinking public servants, and geospatial service entrepreneurs
> and philantropists. While is interesting to entertain ideas
It only takes one or two in each of these categories to make a big
difference. The early ARPA net was really seeded by one or two people
at ARPA. The WWW was started with (I'm guessing here) public or
quasi-public funding at CERN, probably not having required too many
A lot of the hand wringing I hear from the geo community is that no one
understands us and the rest of the world does not know we exist. That
leads to attempts at self-puffery that sound more like whining to get
attention. There are a lot of geo groups in the world and they all seem
to engage in this. I think "our" stance needs to be one of setting
examples, showing what can work, and doing things that get noticed.
> of early financial returns from geospatial web services, the audience
> also needs to hear an informed, - sober and unhyped- assessment of
> where we are, and what we still need to do to enjoy the economic
> benefits of a geopspatial web. We can't afford a second dot.bust -
> investments have to be smarter this time
It's up to us to "infiltrate" gatherings of the public servants, and
geospatial service entrepreneurs and philantropists, find the forward
thinking ones, and provide them with things to fund and support. That's
the really tricky part.
> What we need...
> - cheap and reliable mobile broadband ip access over commercial
> wireless services
> - a cheap reliable, privacy observant geolocation infrastructure
> ~ a DNS for wireless waypoint mac address locations for
> ubiquitious wifi and other wireles signal strength geolocation.
> ~ free and reliable, and privacy observant standard geolocation
> services over commercial wireless services
> -better functions and form factors for low cost hand-held mobile
> devices: built-in gps and other geolocation, standard java runtime
> environment, better cheaper displays, better keypads and
> pointers,multi-band reception: cellular,wifi,bluetooth and obviously
> more power, memory, storage and battery life.
Can't argue with any of that!
> - a vigorous, and productive co-development communities of software
> tool and system builders, and mobile platform developers.
Does this mean we need to develop something sourceforge-ish? What do
you envision in terms of co-development communities that does not
> - an active productive community of standards and policy developers
> focusing on privacy, and technical interoperability.
I bet you mean more than OGC. And more than OGC+ISO+IETF+OASIS. Do we
have to develop our own standards community? Are there things we can
standardize? Are there ways we can standardize that are better than the
establishment standards bodies? (I know, the answer to both is "yes" -
I want to hear what others think).
> - open free access to all of the public geodata in the world
> including roads, boundries, public health, safety and transit data,
> place names, and all public environmental, social, political,
> economic, and academic research geodata, and satellite and aerial
> geo data and raster map libraries.
This sounds like geo data commons. Thanks to Chris Holmes for broaching
this subject earlier. 
> - a comprehensive search engine for _existing_ geodata on the
> internet- which so far is available only from a baroque assortment of
> directories, gateways and repositories, and commercial and public
Whose job is this? How do we do it? Do we wait for Google to figure it
out? Do we find an existing effort and jump in to help? Do we start
> - vigorous, well funded and productive R&D focused on prevention of
> geospatial spam
Can't argue with that, either!
> - project funding for cool projects: research funds, art grants, and
> venture capital.
PS - I hate to say it, but having the list name be a term that some are
unwilling to use in polite conversation and others are probably scared
to read at work, not to mention that is probably blocked by corporate
and school filters does not sound like the bedrock upon which we can
At least I think it was Chris - here's part of the thread:
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